Lautenbergs Attack Booker, Back Pallone for Senate

EDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) -

Well-known for throwing political barbs, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg aimed most of them in the last months of his life at Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who had announced he was thinking about running for Lautenberg’s seat.

Now, a month after Lautenberg’s death, his family is picking up where he left off and continuing to assail Booker as they endorsed another candidate Monday in the race for the late senator’s seat.

“It’s important for New Jerseyans to understand Cory Booker’s motivation,” Josh Lautenberg, the late senator’s son, said. “I think Cory is more concerned with his celebrity status and his future than he is with doing the job that my father did for the state of New Jersey.”

Josh Lautenberg, his three sisters and stepmother, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, released a statement endorsing U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone.

“Frank Pallone knows gimmicks and celebrity status won’t get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future,” it read. The statement, which did not mention Booker by name, said Lautenberg was a “work horse, not a show horse.”

“Anyone who goes [online] and is rescuing a wet dog or goes on food stamps, those are what my father would call stunts,” Josh Lautenberg said. “And that’s not best for the people of New Jersey who have economic and other issues of serious concern.”

Asked about the endorsement at an unrelated news conference, Booker said he was not surprised because the Lautenberg and Pallone families “go way back.” He also brushed off criticism in the statement.

“I didn’t see my name in there at all,” Booker said.