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NJ’s Next US Senator Not Expected To Make Immediate Impact [AUDIO]

Don’t count on the winner of next week’s special election for U.S. Senate in New Jersey to make much of a difference right out of the gate.

Special Senate Election candidates Democrat Cory Booker (L) and Republican Steve Lonegan (both photos Facebook)
Special Senate Election candidates Democrat Cory Booker (L) and Republican Steve Lonegan (both photos Facebook)

In the world of Washington politics, seniority is everything and neither Democratic candidate Cory Booker nor Republican Steve Lonegan will have any of that.

“Whoever wins this election is going to be at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of seniority,” explains Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “That’s not really going to help out New Jersey a lot.”

How well will the Garden State’s next U.S. Senator be able to work with the senior Senators in Washington? Murray says that’s the real question.

“Will they be able to make friends with those senior Senators particularly the leadership to get those plum committee assignments?” asks Murray. “That remains to be seen.”

The Oct. 16 special election is being held to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Frank Lautenberg. The campaign has been heated as Booker attacks Lonegan for being a rightwing extremist and Lonegan counters that Booker is an Obama clone. Both candidates have strong personalities and Murray thinks the eventual winner will have to check his at the door.

“One of the things that we do know is that the (U.S. Senate) leadership doesn’t take too kindly to someone who tries to grab the spotlight from day-one,” explains Murray. “There’s an etiquette in the U.S. Senate. You defer to seniority. You wait your turn to do the national press.”

Other politicians who have entered the U.S. Senate with high national name recognition including Hillary Clinton sat in the background for a while as they forged relationships says Murray.

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