Booker wins Senate election, Democrats keep seat
Senator-elect Cory Booker clinched New Jersey’s seat in the U.S. Senate, winning with 55 percent of the vote in yesterday’s special election, according to The Associated Press.
Booker will fill a 15-month term vacated after the death of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Forty-four percent of N.J. voters voted for his Republican opponent Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, N.J.
Now that Booker, the former mayor of Newark, has a seat in Congress, the balance of power has returned to a 55 to 45 advantage for Democrats, meaning Republicans need to win six seats in next year’s midterms to gain control of the Senate, according to NBC News.
Booker has already achieved celebrity status, not just in New Jersey, but also across the country. He regularly appears on news programs and has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter.
To celebrate his victory, Booker’s campaign held a party last night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
Among the guests were Barbara Buono, N.J. Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Justin Tuck, captain of the New York Giants and the Newark Boys Choir.
When Booker took the podium, he acknowledged that more than a million people took the time to vote on a Wednesday in the middle of October three weeks before another important election.
“If you voted for me, I will make you proud,” he said. “If you didn’t ... I will work every single day to earn your trust. I work for all of New Jersey.”
The senator-elect credited his success to his campaign manager, Addisu Demissie. He also mentioned the great American spirit of activism and thanked volunteers for their outstanding work.
He said he feels a sense of urgency in the nation’s capital and said he does not intend to play politics, but rather hopes to engage in a service that reaches out to others to make America better for everyone.
According to Booker, the spirit of activism will only attain success if Americans, from politicians to ordinary citizens, come together in a bipartisan effort. He told the audience democracy is not a spectator sport.
He said he witnessed the success of bipartisan support firsthand when the people of Newark came together under his leadership to make the city a better place.
“A mayor cannot accomplish this alone. We accomplished this together,” he said. “ This is an American story. Alone we can be strong, but when we are together, we can be invincible.”
With this, he said he would work on reforming marriage equality, closing the gap between rich and poor, women’s equality, higher education and heath care.
On a personal note, the senator-elect noted the passing of this father. He said his father and mother taught him self-reliance and gave him his work ethic. He said his father would not have been able to raise him into the man he is today without love from others.
“I’m here because when my dad’s mom couldn’t take care of him, other people stepped up and loved him like their own,” Booker said. “When my dad couldn’t afford to go to college ... they said ‘you must go to college, we will help you afford your first semester’s tuition.’”
Appreciative of the environment he grew up in, Booker said he developed a serious sense of duty to the state from spending his childhood in Harrington Park, N.J., and this is why he moved to Newark.
“We all owe a debt we cannot owe back, so we must pay it forward,” he said.
To the enthusiastic and boisterous crowd, Tuck showed is support for the senator-elect.
“This campaign’s about bringing people together, and there’s no place I’d rather be tonight than right here,” he said.