TRENTON, N.J. (AP/The Daily Caller) — Newark Mayor Cory Booker won a special election Wednesday to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, defeating conservative Steve Lonegan, a former small-town mayor.
With three-quarters of precincts reporting, Booker had almost 56 percent of the vote to Lonegan’s 43 percent.
The first reaction from Booker, who is better known for his obsessive presence on social media than for his management of the Garden State’s crime-ridden, impoverished, rapidly deteriorating largest city, came in the form of a tweet: “Thank you so much, New Jersey, I’m proud to be your Senator-elect.”
Thank you so much, New Jersey. I’m proud to be your senator-elect: https://t.co/vs9ew7iOkd
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 17, 2013
Booker, 44, will become the first black senator from New Jersey. Booker’s historic election means that this will be the first time the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body has had two black senators since July.
Booker was elected to complete the 15 months remaining on the term of Frank Lautenberg, whose death in June at age 89 gave rise to an unusual and abbreviated campaign. If he wants to keep the seat for a full six-year term — and all indications are that he does — Booker will be on the ballot again in November 2014.
Booker has led a charmed life. He was raised in suburban Harington Park as the son of two of the first black IBM executives, and graduated from Stanford and law school at Yale with a stint in between as a Rhodes Scholar before ostensibly moving to one of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods.
A recent investigation by The Daily Caller found no evidence that Booker has actually lived at any of the residences he claims in Newark. Neighbors and local residents claim that he is rarely in the city. (Related: Neighbors: Cory Booker never lived in Newark)
When she attempted this week to contact Booker’s putative landlord, a National Review reporter was screamed at and told to leave.
Booker’s defeat of the legendarily corrupt Mayor Sharpe James in 2006 replaced what Salon’s David Sirota called comparatively petty “Tammany Hall-style crimes” with “Mahogany Paneled Conference Room Graft.” (Related: Cory Booker named in Newark corruption suit)
But Booker’s ascension also fired the imaginations of liberals elites and wealthy techsters who are not generally known for their interest in Brick City. Despite a massive influx of fundraising, including a $100 million pledge from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Newark continued to decline on Booker’s watch, with failing schools and a spiraling crime rate. (Related: 10 murders in 10 days in Newark!)