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Booker and Lonegan win NJ primaries, face off for Senate seat

Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan have won their respective primaries and will now compete for Frank Lautenberg's former Senate seat. New Jersey has not sent a Republican to the Senate in 40 years, so the race appears to be Booker's to lose.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker steps out of a voting booth after voting in a primary election, Tuesday, Aug. 13, in Newark, N.J. Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan won their party primaries, and will face off in an Oct. 16 special election, with the winner headed to Washington for the remaining 15 months of Frank Lautenberg's term.

Mel Evans/AP

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A rising star in the Democratic Party and a Republican former mayor won their parties' primaries on Tuesday to set up a campaign of political and stylistic contrasts as they seek to fill the final 15 months of the term of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker defeated three experienced politicians — U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver — in a Democratic primary that may have been more competitive had the field been less crowded. The race was a major draw for them partly because of New Jersey's history of electing only Democrats to the Senate over the past 40 years.

In the Republican primary, former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan won handily over Franklin Township physician Alieta Eck, who had never run for office before.

With about 60 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Booker had about 75 percent of the vote in the Democratic contest, with Pallone, who had the support of Lautenberg's family, a distant second. Lonegan had about 80 percent of the vote in the GOP contest.


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