Senate Primary Nearing The Finish Line

With four veteran Democratic leaders and nine days until the primary on Tuesday August 13 there has been no recent poll, no drastic change in the candidate’s spending, no obvious sign of an insurgent break-away candidate, and less than expected independent expenditures. Although the current picture points in one direction, voter turn out and progressive ardor can make a difference.

Many Blue Jersey readers will likely vote for the more progressive Rep. Rush Holt or Rep. Frank Pallone. The fact that these two candidates are so similar on the issues has precluded unions and outside interests from intervening, has divided the progressive vote and has left Mayor Cory Booker with a stronger hand. Perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall neither Holt nor Pallone have invested the huge sums necessary to break away from the pack. Nor have they frequently strayed far from their congressional districts. In a shortened election cycle this primary season has given them prominence but little time. A loss in the primary should not hurt their re-election to the House next year.

In the polls Cory Booker started with a 46 point advantage and in the most recent Monmouth poll (ending July 11) he had a 37 point advantage.

As indicated below the fold Cory Booker continues as the big spender with Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep Rush Holt considerably behind. The cash on hand for the two congressmen in their Senate campaign accounts includes the large transfer of funds from their House Campaign account. Because Booker solicited donations for the current and next year’s races the monies in Cory Booker’s account may not all be usable in the current cycle. Steve Lonegan’s cash on hand includes a $100,827 loan to himself, so he has raised very little. Nonetheless he remains prohibitively the likely winner in the Republican primary, and may yet receive independent expenditure funds for the election. Neither Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver nor Alieta Eck. M. D., have made a dent in the polls or in fundraising.

Below the fold are the most recent financial campaign data through July 24, independent expenditures, a partial list of endorsements and key deadlines.

Financial campaign data through July 24 as reported to the FEC. (The Eck data is through June 30 only.)


Cory Booker (D)            $4,577,308         $4,058,489      

Alieta Eck  (R)                    $10,688             $18,275

Rush Holt (D)                  $795,457            $667,147

Steve Lonegan (R)           $172,441            $150,814

Sheila Oliver (D)                 $6,925                 $6,925

Frank Pallone (D)          $1,050,095         $2,619,799

According to FEC reports only one candidate – Cory Booker –  has been the beneficiary of independent expenditures on his behalf as well as a small sum in opposition to his candidacy. Independent funders have spent $341,922 on his behalf and $25,030 in opposition. Most of the funds on his behalf are for canvassing and related materials. One would think such effort would best be coordinated with the candidate’s staff but independent expenditures are supposed to be independent – no communications between the payor and campaign officials. For more information on the independent funder players go here.

The value of endorsements is hard to calculate and in a multi-media age might be decreasing. So far the Star-Ledger, N. Y. Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer have endorsed Booker. He has also received endorsements from at least four county Democratic committees and from Bill Bradley, Joe DiVincenzo, George Norcross, Jim Whelan, Brian Stack, Loretta Weinberg and Richard Codey. Rep. Pallone has received endorsements from Sen. Lautenberg’s family and Vin Gopal. Rep. Holt has received an endorsement from the Mercer County Democratic Committee and lists other on his website. There is no single source that compiles all endorsements so this listing is necessarily incomplete.


  • August 6 – Deadline to Apply by Mail for a Mail-In Ballot for Primary Election

  • August 9 – Deadline for Application to Receive Primary Election Mail-In Ballots by Electronic Means for Qualified Overseas Civilian and Military Voters

  • August 12 – by 3:00 p.m.- Deadline for In-Person Submission of Mail-In Ballot Applications for Primary Election

  • Comments (4)

    1. PNolkan

      received the endorsement of the Asbury Park Press this weekend. Not quite the equivalent of the NY Times or Philadelphia Inquirer, but at least it’s one Booker didn’t get.  

    2. sayitaintso

      are paying off handsomely.

      He’s pro marriage equality and good on him.

      He does not support public education.

      can anyone else tell me a policy position of his?  

      Seriously  I’m asking.

    3. TrentonMakes

      Bill Orr is right to doubt the impact on voter choices of newspaper endorsements (except, perhaps, the NY Times for highly educated liberals). The Philadelphia Inquirer, which used to play such a role in southern New Jersey, is now owned by a Norcross consortium, and presumably does as its boss tells it. The candidates’ local papers endorse their respective favorite sons.

      The Times endorsement was quite curious. It called Holt “the ablest legislator in the field” and noted Booker’s “coziness with moneyed interests” and collaboration with Christie–two big irritants for most liberal Democrats. What it cited in Cory’s favor was having run into a burning building (seriously!) and the latest (hyped?) Newark renaissance.

      You can’t help but wonder if the Scudiery mailer attacking Pallone isn’t a sign that Booker’s internal polls show his numbers slipping in the home stretch. Guess we’ll know in 8 days.  


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