Recent polls in the New Jersey special Senate election, which will be held next week, indicate that Republican Senate nominee Steve Lonegan’s hard charging attacks on Democratic Senate nominee and Newark Mayor Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) have caused Garden State voters to re-examine the inevitable coronation of Booker as the successor to the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
With some polls showing Lonegan now within striking distance, Booker’s allies are concerned about the outcome of the election. One of Booker’s biggest fans, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is sufficiently worried that he is sending a $1 million political care package of television ads to help drag Booker across the finish line with a victory.
As the New York Times reported on Monday, Booker “is an undisputed star of a new generation of African-American leaders, electrifying liberal audiences with his oratory and charming the social media set with his digital savvy.” But Booker’s “sputtering, unfocused” campaign “has unnerved his supporters, who thought that a robust and unblemished victory over his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, would catapult him onto the national stage.”
Lonegan, the Tea Party-aligned candidate who lost a bitterly contested 2009 GOP gubernatorial primary to current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has hit Booker hard for being a persona rather than a practical politician who gets things done. As the Times reported, “A radio commercial hammered Mr. Booker, 44, for traveling to the West Coast a few weeks ago to attend a fund-raiser with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck after murders had spiked in Newark, declaring: ‘While you’re listening to this ad, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is in California, getting as far away as he can from his own city’s problems.'”
According to the Times, Bloomberg “will start spending more than $1 million on Monday to broadcast television commercials on Mr. Booker’s behalf, a vast sum to pour into a single candidacy.” Bloomberg says he supports Booker because the Newark mayor “is a solutions guy rather than an ideologue.”
For his part, Booker is hoping that Bloomberg’s last minute million dollar campaign rescue package will provide his own electoral solution next week.