Rep. Rush Holt, the leading Democratic challenger to Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey’s open U.S. Senate seat, is steamed that Booker has chosen to participate in only two debates before the Aug. 13 election.
Holt spokesman Thomas Seay said limiting the number of debates — the first of which is scheduled for Aug. 5 and the second three days later — would result in only a "tiny fraction of New Jersey voters" hearing what the leading candidate has to say, The Hill said
"That's especially troubling because the mayor has never before run for federal office, has never expressed views on many federal issues, and has not shared a single position statement on his campaign website," he said.
According to The Hill, the "debates could be a weak point for the mayor," because "he has less experience than his congressional opponents with some of the federal and international policy issues that would come" in a debate. "Limiting the debates could minimize any missteps" before the election.
Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis said that "as Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker deals every day with the real-world impact of federal policy. What we look forward to discussing in this race is the progress he’s made in curbing gun violence, creating jobs and improving schools to improve people’s lives, progress often made despite the headwinds coming from Washington," The Hill said.
Polls show Booker to be a strong favorite among Democrats for the Senate seat temporarily held by a Republican, former New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, since the death of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, earlier this month.
A recent Rasmussen poll
shows that among Democratic primary candidates, Booker is favored with 54 percent, Holt (11 percent), Rep. Frank Pallone (8 percent) and N.J. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (5 percent).
Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Piscataway physician Alieta Eck are the GOP candidates.
The election will be held on Oct. 16.
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