Booker, Lonegan Win NJ Senate Primaries

TRENTON, N.J. -

As we go to print, early exit polls in New Jersey indicate that Steve Lonegan and Cory Booker are leading in their quest to become, respectively, the Republican and Democratic nominees for an Oct. 16 election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg.

Polls closed at 8:00 p.m., and turnout around the state was light, as was expected because of the unprecedented mid-August election. A heavy rain shower early in the day may have provided yet another reason for voters to stay away.

Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota who lost the 2005 and 2009 Republican primaries for governor, faced Somerset County physician Alieta Eck. Booker, the mayor of Newark, faced Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt.

Early Tuesday, the Vaad of Lakewood printed posters across the township announcing their endorsement of Booker, whom they met with two months ago.

They wrote that they were friends with Booker and Pallone for many years, which “presents a difficult choice for us as to who deserves our backing.”

“While they both are deserving, we heartily endorse Cory Booker for one reason — his positions on vouchers. There is no stronger advocate in N.J. for private school vouchers (including our Mosdos) than Cory Booker.”

The Vaad said that Booker’s election, “would be the first time there is a powerful Democrat pushing hard for vouchers.”