Newark Mayor Cory Booker may not have the backing of the Lautenberg family, but he seems to have the support of the majority of New Jersey voters anyway topping the 50 percent mark in both the primary and general election in a poll out Tuesday.
In the Quinnipiac University poll, Booker comes in with 52 percent in the Democratic primary match up against Rep. Frank Pallone who comes in with 10 percent, 8 percent for Rep. Rush Holt, and 3 percent for Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Another 26 percent of voters are undecided.
The special Senate election is to replace the U.S. senate seat left when Frank Lautenberg died last month. Monday, his family rallied around Pallone writing a letter that dinged Booker saying Pallone most reflects Lautenberg's values including his focus on being a "workhorse, not a showhorse."
"Frank Pallone, like our Frank, will put in the hours and hard work necessary to fight for New Jersey in the Senate. And Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won't get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future," the letter reads.
The Quinnipiac poll also looks at the Republican primary where former GOP candidate for governor and former mayor of Bogota, N.J., Steven Lonegan blows physician Alieta Eck out of the water 62 percent to 5 percent.
In a head to head match up of Booker against Lonegan, Booker is still above 50 percent coming in 53 percent to 30 percent. Pallone, Holt or Oliver make the general election much closer. Pallone gets 38 percent to Lonegan's 34 percent, Holt gets 37 percent to Lonegan's 37 percent, and Oliver gets 35 percent to Lonegan's 37 percent.
"It looks as if the speculation was right: Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be a shoo-in for the U.S. Senate," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a release. "Political observers wondered why Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt didn't make a deal for one of them to step out and throw his support to the other. These results show that probably wouldn't help. Pallone's and Rush's combined total in the Democratic primary still trails Booker's tally almost 3-1."
Booker, Pallone, Holt, and Oliver will face off in the Democratic primary in August and the general election will take place in October.
The other race going on in the Garden State is the race for governor pitting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie against state Sen. Barbara Buono. The Christie campaign released their latest fundraising numbers this week bringing in $2.2 million, which they say the overwhelming amount came in the 25 days after the June 4 primary. They have $2.1 million cash on hand.
The Buono campaign has not reported their fundraising yet and does not need to until Oct. 15 .
They are out today with a new web ad hitting Christie's national ambitions. Titled "Right Here" Buono stands in front of video footage of Christie in Iowa campaigning 18 months ago with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and says, "There's Gov. Christie traveling to another political event. He's got plenty of time for Iowa, but what about Irvington?"
"Guess what, governor there's no fried butter in Newark, just 13 percent unemployment," Buono says, noting the famous staple of the Iowa State Fair. "No cornstalks in Clifton, just families being crushed by soaring property taxes. I'm Barbara Buono and I'm sure Iowa is lovely this time of year, but as your governor you'll find me right here in New Jersey working for you."
Christie spokesperson Kevin Roberts responded to the new web ad pointing out the 32 Democrats that by their count have crossed the aisle to support Christie.
"From holding the line on taxes, balancing budgets and reining in property taxes, Governor Christie has a proven record of putting people over politics to get things done for the people of New Jersey," Roberts said in a statement. "That's why leading Democrats across the state are deserting their party's nominee and supporting his re-election bid."
They face off in November, but polls still show a big lead for Christie. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll out last month showed Christie leading Buono by 30 points 57 percent to 27 percent.
This story has been updated with the Christie statement since it was first posted.