A rising star in the Democratic Party and a Republican former mayor won their parties' primaries on Tuesday to set up a campaign of political and stylistic contrasts as they seek to fill the final 15 months of the term of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker defeated three experienced politicians — U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver — in a Democratic primary that may have been more competitive had the field been less crowded.
The race was a major draw for them partly because of New Jersey's history of electing only Democrats to the Senate over the past 40 years.
In the Republican primary, former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan won handily over Franklin Township physician Alieta Eck, who had never run for office before.
With about 60 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Booker had about 75 percent of the vote in the Democratic contest, with Pallone, who had the support of Lautenberg's family, a distant second. Lonegan had about 80 percent of the vote in the GOP contest.