Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Candidates Throw Jabs to Open N.J. Senate Race; Democrat Booker Targets Rival's Ideology; Republican Lonegan Criticizes Foe as Failed Mayor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Candidates Throw Jabs to Open N.J. Senate Race; Democrat Booker Targets Rival's Ideology; Republican Lonegan Criticizes Foe as Failed Mayor

Article excerpt

NEWARK, N.J. * Though New Jersey voters have consistently rejected Republicans even moderate ones running for U.S. Senate over the past 40 years, the newly nominated GOP candidate kicked off the state's general special election Wednesday by trying to sell them on his conservative ideology .

Republican Steve Lonegan resoundingly beat his only challenger in Tuesday's Republican primary. He'll face Cory Booker, Newark's mayor and already a popular figure in the national Democratic Party, who easily won his nomination as well, for the seat made vacant by Sen. Frank Lautenberg's death in June.

Lonegan used his first news conference of the general election to attack Booker's mayoral record, saying Booker would leave the state's largest city with higher crime and unemployment rates than when first elected. It was the opening jab from a conservative Booker identified as "a flame thrower" in his own victory speech Tuesday.

Lonegan said his advocacy of limited government, fewer taxes and more personal liberties would resonate with voters. But in a state that has more registered Democrats than Republicans, even more moderate Republicans failed to win Senate races. Lonegan would be the first Republican to win in 41 years.

The special election for the remaining 15 months of Lautenberg's term will be held Oct. 16, with unprecedented Wednesday voting ordered by Gov. Chris Christie in part to avoid Booker topping the ticket over the governor's own re-election race three weeks later.

Booker, 44, who won the Democratic nomination over three experienced opponents, including two longtime U.S. representatives, began the day greeting rail commuters in Hoboken after a few hours of sleep. He said the race offers voters a clear choice because his rival is at "the far margin of the Republican Party. …

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