Southern NJ Dem Leaders Endorse Booker

DEPTFORD, N.J. (AP) -

Democratic leaders from seven southern New Jersey counties pledged their support Wednesday to Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the special U.S. Senate primary election, but that does not mean they will be raising money for him.

Early polls have Booker as the favorite to win the Oct. 16 election to serve the last 15 months of the term of Frank Lautenberg, who died this month.

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt launched his campaign Wednesday with an introductory video and campaign site and said the race resembles other tough elections he’s won during his political career. This week, Rep. Frank Pallone called for multiple pre-primary debates, an idea that the other candidates seemed comfortable with. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is largely tied up with passing the state budget, which must be adopted by July 1.

If the election has low turnout, as expected, the endorsements could be a factor.

On Wednesday, the officials backing Booker, and Booker himself, were polite to the other candidates during a campaign event at a catering hall in Deptford.

“We have four excellent candidates for the U.S. Senate,” said state Senate President Steve Sweeney. “No one comes close to Cory when it’s about getting things done, especially in Washington, D.C.”