Newark Mayor Cory Booker has a strong lead over his Democratic primary challengers in the race to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows.
Booker has 52 percent of the Democratic primary vote, while Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) has 10 percent and Rush Holt has 8 percent. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has 3 percent. In a general election, Booker would lead Republican Steve Lonegan by a 53 to 30 percent margin.
The numbers are virtually unchanged from polls released a month ago.
Lautenberg's Senate seat currently has a placeholder, Jeff Chiesa (R-N.J.), who has said he won't run in a special election.
Lautenberg's family endorsed Pallone on Monday, taking thinly veiled shots at Booker. "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 family's endorsement read. "When New Jersey Democrats examine the Senate candidates closely, they may be surprised to find out that not all of them share core Democratic values or loyalty to the party," the statement continued, in an apparent reference to Booker's alliance with Gov. Chris Christie (R) over education reform.
Booker launched an exploratory committee for Senate while Lautenberg was still alive and had not made a decision to retire, leading to tension between the two Democrats. Lautenberg announced his retirement in February but passed away in June at age 89.
The primary will be held on Aug. 13, a time when many of the state's residents are on vacation. The general election is Oct. 16, just under three weeks before the state chooses whether to reelect Christie.
CORRECTION: The original article incorrectly referred to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver as Sheila Holt.