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Cory Booker Runaway Favorite in Early Primary Poll

Cory BookerNewark Mayor Cory Booker is a very early favorite in the 2014 Democratic primary race for New Jersey’s Senate seat, according to a new poll. Fairleigh Dickinson University reports that Booker leads his closest Democratic competitor by 43-points among New Jersey’s Democratic voters, 50 percent of whom chose Booker as their favorite. Rep. Rush Holt was a distant second, with 7 percent choosing him over Booker. But almost 32 percent of those polled said they were unsure of their favored candidate.

Booker would replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 89, who has held the seat for almost three decades. Out of the contenders listed in the poll, Booker is by far the most recognizable to the public, thanks to his hands-on involvement through social media and national appearances. The 43-year-old mayor has captured more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, and recently spoke at a SXSW panel describing the necessity for government involvement in social media.

The poll also showed that Booker is heavily favored over Fox News host Geraldo Rivera, who has hinted at a Senate run under the Republican Party. Polling both Republican and Democrat voters, Fairleigh Dickinson reported that Booker bested Rivera by a margin of 52 percent to 21 percent.  The poll included 702 registered voters and had a 3.7 percent margin of error.

When Booker first announced his intention to run for Senate, he earned criticism from fellow Democrats who believed he was putting undue pressure on Lautenberg to step down at the end of his term. Though Lautenberg sent several public jabs in Booker’s direction early in the year, he eventually announced his attention to retire in 2014.

Additionally, Booker has been accused of neglecting his duties as Newark’s mayor while maintaining a high national profile. His second term as Newark’s mayor will end just months before the 2014 elections, in the midst of primary races.

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