Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who formally declared his candidacy for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s seat on Saturday, now finds himself competing in a primary against like-minded Democratic congressmen that will be decided in mid-summer, when low voter turnout threatens his early advantage.
Booker made his candidacy official at a news conference in New Jersey’s largest city, which he has led since 2006. Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are also planning to enter the Democratic primary. Candidates have until 4 p.m. Monday to file petitions with the secretary of state.
The only Republican running so far is Steve Lonegan, a former Bogota mayor who runs the New Jersey office of Americans for Prosperity. Known for his “Taxpayer Minute” on radio programs, he spent Sunday afternoon collecting signatures at Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood.
Booker is considered the early front-runner, though critics in Newark see him as an ambitious interloper who spends too much of his time outside the city.