With $4.5 million in the bank and a seemingly invincible lead in the polls, Newark Mayor Cory Booker appears all but a shoo-in to trounce the Democratic field in the primary for the New Jersey Senate seat to be held on Aug. 13.
Booker raised $4.6 million from April through June, his campaign announced today, putting his cash-on-hand at $4.5 million. This enables him to dominate the television airwaves with commercials in the expensive markets of New York and Philadelphia, where thus far he has been the only candidate running TV ads in the special election to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg.
In a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week, Booker had the support of 52 percent of the respondents, with his closest rival, Rep. Frank Pallone, at 10 percent and Rep. Rush Holt at 8 percent, followed by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver at 3 percent.
“It looks as if the speculation was right: Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be a shoo-in for the U.S. Senate,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a release. “Political observers wondered why Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt didn’t make a deal for one of them to step out and throw his support to the other. These results show that probably wouldn’t help. Pallone’s and Rush’s combined total in the Democratic primary still trails Booker’s tally almost 3-1.”
As for the Republicans, in the Quinnipiac poll, Steven Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, N.J., trounced physician Alieta Eck, 62 percent to 5 percent.
But in a head-to-head match-up against Booker, Lonegan is far behind, trailing Booker 53 percent to 30 percent. But against Pallone, Lonegan is much closer, losing 38 percent to 34 percent. Against Holt, Lonegan is even at 37 percent to 37 percent, while Lonegan beats Oliver, 37 percent to Oliver’s 35 percent.
Of the cash Booker raised, contributions came from more than 2,000 New Jersey residents, and more than 7,000 donors overall. But in the midst of the good news for Booker, he got a slap from the family of Lautenberg, who wrote a letter saying Pallone most reflects Lautenberg’s values, including his focus on being a “workhorse, not a showhorse.”
“Frank Pallone, like our Frank, will put in the hours and hard work necessary to fight for New Jersey in the Senate. And Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won’t get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future,” the letter reads.