Christie's Early Primary May Have Helped Booker's Landslide

Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 03:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have given Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a longtime Democratic rival of his, a boost in Tuesday's special Democratic Senate primary by holding it this year instead of next.

Booker won Tuesday's special Democratic primary in a landslide in the contest to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, defeating Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver by taking 59 percent of the vote.

He will face conservative activist Steve Lonegan, who defeated Dr. Alieta Eck by a 79-21 percent margin in the Republican primary, in the Oct. 16 special general election.

But Booker's large margin of victory might not have occurred if the race had taken place next year, rather than in two-months over this summer, reports NBC News.

Booker, despite his popularity in New Jersey and his household-name status across the country, was having some problems as the election neared. His personal finances were under scrutiny, his digital media company was the subject of two critical New York Times articles, and Lonegan had launched several pointed attacks at his record.

However, given that there was only two months in the campaign, "the opposition didn’t have enough time to erase Booker’s significant money, name ID, and demographic advantages," said NBC. "By scheduling very quick elections, Christie did Booker a very big favor."
But while the outcome worked for Booker, Christie opponents on both sides of the aisle initially complained about his timing for the special elections.

Some Democrats complained that Christie should have held the special election on the same day as the Nov. 5 general election, when Christie is up for re-election, complaining that he chose the earlier date to keep Democrats away from the polls. Meanwhile, Republicans wanted him to fill Lautenberg's seat with a Republican, who would have finished out the late Senator's term through 2014.


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