It’s been a good day to be a Democrat.
Democratic Mayor of Newark Cory Booker is projected to win the October 16th New Jersey special election against Republican Steve Lonegan. The vote stands right now at 55-44.
The special election was to fill the remaining 15 months of late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. Lautenberg, a Democrat, served five terms in the U.S. Senate.
Booker was the favorite going in. It’s a Democratic-leaning state and as an example of results, Essex County came in for Booker at Obama 2012 levels. However, Booker has taken sustained fire from Lonegan over a myriad of issues, some of which were really bizarre, per Huffington Post:
Lonegan has hammered Booker on Newark’s economic troubles, tax increases, and violent crime. The GOP also has assailed him over a 2008 statement that a drug dealer he called a friend was actually an “archetype”; his G-rated Twitter exchanges with a Portland, Ore., stripper; his out-of-state fundraising trips; and a Washington Post interview where Booker, who talks about past girlfriends but prefers to keep his personal life private, said he “loves” when people on Twitter say that he is gay and asked, “so what does it matter if I am?”
But it didn’t help Lonegan that the vote was held on the very night when the Senate was voting to end the Republican shutdown of government and end their default threat. The government had been shutdown for 16 days as voters headed to the polls, and it was the Senate that saved the country from the crazy Republican-led House.
Lonegan ran on the shutdown, saying that Republicans had “guts” to shut down the federal government. He said he wanted to be the guy who “dismantled the IRS”.
In North Jersey, voters had had enough. Jamaican immigrant Alvin Thomas, 55, told North Jersey News that the debt standoff led him to support Booker. “When I see what is going on, I see all these people trying to stop the government, trying to default on our bills,” he said. “I’m out to vote Democrat in the Senate to vent out my frustration.”
USA Today reported that voter Leonard Hospidor went to the polls with one goal, “Stopping the madness.”
Hospidor voted for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, over Republican Steve Lonegan. But his vote was “not just a partisan thing as it is so much trying to restore a little bit of sanity to the process,” said Hospidor, 42, an audio engineer. It’s gotten out of control, the crazy thing, and it’s a little bit embarrassing.”
So, it’s not partisan, it’s just that Republicans are crazy and in order to restore sanity, Hospidor voted for the Democrat.
Senator Michael Bennet, Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following statement this evening on Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s victory in New Jersey:
“Cory Booker is going to be a great Senator for New Jersey, and I congratulate him on his victory tonight. I look forward to working side by side with Cory in the Senate and on his reelection next November. As senator, Cory will have an incredible opportunity not only to serve his constituents and the country, but also to help Democrats across the country defeat the Ted Cruz loyalists who are running for the US Senate.
“Tonight’s election is a repudiation of the Tea Party’s reckless agenda and a Republican party that grants too much influence to people on the fringes.”
The Senate is America’s firewall from the crazies in the House, even with Cruz and Paul. And that’s one reason why Republicans haven’t managed to win the majority. It needs every sane person it can get.
Congratulations to the new United States Senator elect, Cory Booker.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.