Did you know that New Jersey has a special election THIS Tuesday? It’s a primary for US Senator, and the candidate who receives the most votes on Tuesday will probably be the one to complete the late Frank Lautenberg’s unexpired term as New Jersey’s United States Senator. The presumed victor is my least favorite of the four viable candidates, Cory Booker.
I like Cory Booker just fine on Twitter, and I’m sure he’s a decent guy in many ways. He definitely has lots of energy and ambition, and he’s certainly personable. But I worry. I worry about Booker’s love of vouchers in education. I worry about his connections to tech and corporations and a bunch of other stuff. I worry about his lack of enthusiasm for gun violence measures. And I worry about his lack of straightforward answers to basic policy questions.
And just yesterday I read that he blew off the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization of Women. Now one reporter said that he was provided with emails that show Booker’s office did contact NOW, but his office hasn’t been bothering to sit down with many groups. And why should he? Booker’s celebrity and “good guy” actions shared over Twitter (because Twitter is super reliable) are plenty to sweep him into the Senate. And maybe he’d be a wonderful representative for The Garden State. Sure – why not?
The thing is, the other three Democratic hopefuls all have more street cred when it comes to working for change in New Jersey. I like all three of the stronger candidates, but on Tuesday, I’ll be voting for Frank Pallone.
State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is impressive in person, and she isn’t afraid to fight for issues important to her. I met Ms. Oliver briefly at a gun violence prevention rally back in January, and later after the NJ Assembly vote approving almost two dozen gun violence prevention bills. She’s the real deal, and I would love to see another woman in the US Senate. Heck, I’d love to send a black woman to the US Senate. She’s also my town’s representative in the State Assembly, so I feel an affinity for her. Still, I don’t think she’s the best choice in this pool.
Congressman Rush Holt is the guy I’d want in my ideal Senate, and in a perfect world. As he has been very clear, he’s definitely the total progressive in this race. And he’s a teacher (yes!), a deep thinker, and earnest. All good things. The Booker-snubbed NOW has endorsed Holt with warm words. He also has federal experience as a US Congressman, but I’m cynical enough to believe that idealism like his wouldn’t get far in the Senate.
So on Tuesday, I’ll be voting for Congressman Frank Pallone to honor the seat that the late Senator Lautenberg has left vacant. Lautenberg’s family has endorsed Pallone, and he’s also raked in endorsements from Newark, where Booker is mayor. The Congressman is progressive, but tempered with many terms in Congress. He seems realistic and balanced and stubborn enough to cause a waves for the good of The Garden State. Which is just what we need to make up for the fringe-damage Governor Christie’s Interim Senator Chiesa is trying to inflict during his brief stint.
Naturally, whoever wins this primary for the Democrats is the person who will get my vote for the Senate. The Republican hopefuls are so deep into fringe politics they think it’s mainstream.
Either way, make sure to get out and VOTE. Our state is spending a lot of money to hold this special primary — don’t waste it. If you’re out-of-town and didn’t get a mail-in ballot, SPREAD THE WORD! Find your polling place here —> click here to search.