Booker Easily Defeats Lonegan in Special Election

by Connor Ryan
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Cory Booker.

Flickr

Booker will be New Jersey's first black senator.

Democrat Cory Booker will go to Washington to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.

After serving as the Mayor of Newark for nearly seven years, Booker, 44, easily defeated his Republican opponent Steve Lonegan in last night's special election. With almost every district reporting Wednesday night, Booker had 55 percent of the vote to Lonegan's 44 percent.

During his victory speech, Booker delayed thanking supporters until after reflecting on the legacy of the Sen. Frank Lautenberg who died in June. Booker will complete Lautenberg's remaining term, which now amounts to 15 months.

"We are a better state, we are a better nation because of his service," Booker said in front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. "That you all have elected me to finish his term makes tonight's honor all the greater for me personally."

Then Booker pivoted to a broader look at the landscape of American politics. He applauded local residents for voting amid weeks of stalled negotiations on Capitol Hill.

"Despite the cynicism and the negativity that we often see on TV, despite a special, special election, folks in New Jersey -- tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands -- rejected all of that and came out and voted," he said.

Booker's opponent Steve Lonegan also turned to the nation's capitol during his concession speech.

"The big Washington power groups and consultants said we couldn't win," he said. "Well maybe if they'd had played a role in this election we would have won."

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