Oliver, Pallone, Lonegan Turn In Petitions For Special Senate Election [POLL]
Republican Steve Lonegan & Dr. Alieta Eck along with Democrats Sheila Oliver and Frank Pallone turned in their petitions in Trenton, meeting today's deadline to be on the ballot for the special Senate election primary ballot in August.
That leaves four Democrats and two Republicans ready to rumble as Congressman Frank Pallone and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver join the special Senate Election to fill Frank Lautenberg's seat.
Sheila Oliver filed 3.400 signatures shortly before 4:00 p.m. according to the Star-Ledger.
“I think that the voters of New Jersey are entitled to have some choices in terms of who represents them in the U.S. Senate,” Oliver said according to the Star-Ledger. “You know for a long time I’ve had a lot of consternation that for centuries we have had no women representing the state of New Jersey. So I am very concerned about beginning to move the process forward for women’s representation.”
Pallone To Make Run
Pallone met the media at the Trenton Marriott, a last minute from the front of the state Board of Elections due to today's heavy rains.
"Today, I am proud to stand here & declare my candidacy to be the next US Senator from the great state of New Jersey," said Pallone after turning in 3,000 petitions.
Pallone, who has served 13 terms in Congress, said, "“I’m in this race because families in our state and throughout the nation are hurting, and I believe that we have a responsibility to roll up our sleeves, get to work and help. Throughout my career, I have been committed to public service and to the idea that, no matter the size of the challenge, I would continue to stand and fight and work toward sensible solutions.”
Lonegan Turns In His Petitions
Steve Lonegan's campaign says they turned in over 7,000 signatures from 250 volunteers in all 21 counties to the state Board of Elections in Trenton late Monday morning.
“The election that you’re going to see in the next 16 weeks is going to be far different than anything you have in the past,” Lonegan told reporters according to the Star Ledger.
Oliver told fellow Democrats at a strategy Sunday night in East Brunswick attended by most of the Democrat leadership she was planning to run in the election. "She had made it clear to me right now that she has about 1,500 signatures and right now she plans on running," Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union) told the Star Ledger.
Dr. Alieta Eck, the Immediate Past President, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, also turned in petitions.
Candidates have until 4:00p.m. to file petitions with 1,000 signatures with the State Board of Elections in Trenton.
Booker Makes It Official
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, with former Senator Bill Bradley at his side, announced his intention to run at two events on Saturday in Newark and Willingboro. He campaigned on Sunday at a gay pride parade in Maplewood and spoke of his disappointment at a lack of action on gay marriage in New Jersey. "We will change New Jersey, we will change our country. We will truly make this nation one of equality, one of justice, one of love," said Booker according to the Star Ledger.
Frank Pallone: Working Joe Vs. Celebrity Mayor
Pallone, who represents New Jersey's 4th congressional district in Monmouth County told the Associated Press he will run in the special election as well. "At the end of the day, we're all going to run on our records," said Pallone, who has been in Congress since 1989. "I believe my record of 25 years in Congress and the legislation that I've sponsored and the initiatives I've worked on show I'm the best person to get the job done."
Part of Pallone's campaign strategy will be on display today. According to the New York Times he will drive his Chevrolet Impala to deliver his petitions to the State Board of Elections in order to show that compared to Booker he is a regular "working Joe." Republican Scott Brown employed a similar strategy in Massachusetts when he drove his pick up truck to campaign appearances during a special election to replace late Ted Kennedy in 2010.
Pallone, 61, who had banked $3.7 million for a future campaign as of the end of March, said his progressive record on issues such as the Affordable Care Act, mass transportation funding and Superfund cleanups more closely mirrors Lautenberg's positions than his opponents. He and Lautenberg frequently worked together on legislation, with Lautenberg sponsoring a bill in the Senate and Pallone sponsoring it in the House.
Lonegan Gains Endorsements
Also seeking the seat are 12th congressional representative Rush Holt, who has not campaigned yet, and Republicans Steve Lonegan and Dr, Alieta Eck.
Lonegan picked up a number of endorsements over the weekend from county party leaders and Representative Lance Leonard.
Governor Christie's choice to temporarily fill the seat, state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, will be sworn into office this afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this story