Booker currently leads the field of four Democratic candidates competing in the special primary election to be held Tuesday, Aug. 13. The field of Democrats running in the primary includes Booker, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ 12th Dist.), U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ 6th Dist.), and State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.
On the Republican side, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan is running against Alieta Eck, a Somerset physician.
Little policy was discussed during Booker’s campaign stop in Jersey City, which mainly consisted of Booker posing for photos with PATH riders as they exited the train station.
A Jersey City resident who gave his name as “Jah L. S.” was among those who took a photo with Booker and said he plans to vote for him in the Democratic primary.
“I like what he’s done and what I read about him in the news,” said Jah L. S. “I mean, you’re not going to like every single thing he does. No candidate is going to be perfect. But, overall, I like what hear about what’s going on in Newark and what he’s done there.”
Some Booker supporters were not impressed with his Grove Street appearance, however.
Vermia Newton, a Jersey City resident and PS 15 parent council president who spoke at length to Booker Wednesday about educational issues, said later, “I mentioned to him that he needs to do an event like this in the Greenville section of Jersey City, so people [there] can get to know who he is and he can gain that vote, too. This is nice and everything, but I told him, “Go where your people are.’ ”
Fulop was on hand to introduce his constituents to Booker and to remind them of the approaching Aug. 13 primary. The two mayors have traveled in overlapping political circles for years but met only recently during the recent Jersey City municipal election, Fulop said. Booker endorsed Fulop’s opponent, former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.
However Booker has been supportive of Mayor Fulop since he was elected.
“After the election we got together and he has been tremendously helpful in helping me navigate some of the pitfalls that he went through initially when he was first elected mayor,” Fulop said Wednesday. “We’ve talked about some policy initiatives, things he has done successfully in Newark that we can replicate here in Jersey City. The prisoner reentry work was one initiative we’ve talked about. They’ve been able to leverage a lot of private dollars, which is something we plan to in Jersey City. So, as an urban mayor of a city that’s of a similar size as Jersey City, I think Mayor Booker understands the challenges we’re facing here and if elected [to the U.S. Senate] he can be supportive of the work my administration is trying to do.”
Booker’s press rep would not permit the candidate to answer a question regarding what he would do to help urban communities like Jersey City if elected to Lautenberg’s seat.
A special general election will be held on Tuesday, October 16. The winner will serve out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term, which ends next year. The winner of the special election in October will likely seek a full term in November 2014.
Booker had announced plans to run for Lautenberg’s seat before the senator’s death. Prior to his death, Lautenberg had said he would retire next year and would not seek another term.
Gov. Christopher Christie appointed New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to serve in Lautenberg’s seat until the special election takes place. – E. Assata Wright