Reporting David Madden
By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) - New Jersey residents head to the polls today to select a replacement for the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, touts how he’s lowered crime, spending and taxes during his term.
“We have actually shrunk the size of our government,” Booker said. “Spending less money than when I came in and last year gave people a thousand dollar tax break.”
Republican Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, insists Booker’s policies have made things worse in Newark.
“Unemployment raising from 8 to 14% is not progress,” Lonegan said. “That’s a setback to the working people of Newark, New Jersey.”
Every statewide poll has given Booker a double-digit advantage, although those numbers have been coming down in the last couple of weeks. Nobody is quite sure how many people will actually vote in this special election held on a Wednesday in October. That’s never happened before. Many observers predict a low voter turnout. Those observers differ, though, on who would benefit more from that.
The election comes on a day Washington could hit the debt ceiling. How would the candidates deal with that? Booker wants to make a deal.
“Find ways to make reasonable compromise between the parties,” he said. “So yes, I support compromise. Yes, I support working together.”
Republican Steve Lonegan would support raising the debt ceiling, if it comes with corresponding reductions in federal spending.
“We need to start cutting the size of government. It is simply too big, too intrusive and Mayor Booker wants to make it even bigger.”
This race has had more than its share of finger-pointing, with Booker linking Lonegan to the Tea Party and Lonegan returning fire by suggesting Booker has stronger ties to big business and Hollywood than the people he seeks to represent.