Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has stepped up his attacks on Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Two days after joking Booker deserved a “spanking” for his plan to unseat him in 2014, Lautenberg cast a skeptical eye over Booker’s performance during his two terms as mayor.
“He’s got a lot of work to do -- a lot of work that should have been done and hasn’t been done,” Lautenberg said in an interview with the National Journal.
He characterized Newark as a “city in desperate need of attention” and said the city’s highest-ranking politician “can solidify the fact that he wants to improve Newark by being there, things would be different. But he’s free to do as he wants to do.”
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That last comment is an obvious jab at Booker’s recent spate of appearances on various cable news shows after his announcement last month to seek Lautenberg’s seat.
Lautenberg has been away from Washington for a week due to illness. He celebrated his 89th birthday Wednesday and has made no indication he’s thinking of retiring.
Polling numbers aren’t predicting a rosy future for the oldest member of the Senate. In a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, Democratic voters favored Booker over Lautenberg by a 51 to 30 percent margin. His age was also considered a liability by a majority of those polled.
With the election more than a year away, Lautenberg doesn’t put much stock in those numbers.
“I know the people of New Jersey trust me,” he said. “They’ve seen me hard at work constantly for now 28 years.”
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