10/16/2013 08:11 am ET Updated Oct 16, 2013

New Jersey Election: Cory Booker, Steve Lonegan Face Off At The Polls

The New Jersey special election to decide who will take the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat takes place Wednesday.

Democrat Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, is facing off against Republican Steve Lonegan.

Booker had a major fundraising lead over his opponent going into Election Day, having outraised Lonegan by 8-to-1.

Despite his financial stability, Booker's campaign has not been easy. The AP reported earlier:

Even Republicans had expected Booker, a Democrat in a Democratic-leaning state, to cruise to victory by a wide margin over little-known Republican Steve Lonegan in the special election to replace former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

While Booker holds a double-digit lead in most polls, the charismatic Newark mayor has faced sustained Republican criticism that has exposed vulnerabilities that could hamper him should he seek even higher office someday.

Lonegan has hammered Booker on Newark's economic troubles, tax increases, and violent crime. The GOP also has assailed him over a 2008 statement that a drug dealer he called a friend was actually an "archetype"; his G-rated Twitter exchanges with a Portland, Ore., stripper; his out-of-state fundraising trips; and a Washington Post interview where Booker, who talks about past girlfriends but prefers to keep his personal life private, said he "loves" when people on Twitter say that he is gay and asked, "so what does it matter if I am?"

After weeks of mostly ignoring Lonegan, the sustained assault has gotten Booker's attention.



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