And, with that, another Democratic vote in the Senate. CNN:
CNN projects Cory Booker will defeat Republican Steve Lonegan to win the special election to fill the remaining 15 months of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term. Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, will be the second African-American in the current Senate and returns the seat to Democratic hands.
No doubt, this is true:
"Oh thank God. Get me out of here." —Jeff Chiesa, probably.
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) October 17, 2013
With 70 percent reporting, the spread is Cory Booker 56, Steve Lonegan 43. Now, the state that’s sending Booker to the Senate with a 12-point margin will send Chris Christie back to the governor’s office with a 20+-point margin. Hey, it’s New Jersey. Its favorite son is a millionaire who sings about the working man’s plight. It’s a place of contradictions, a riddle wrapped in an enigma, dipped in marinara sauce.
I would have liked to have seen a little tighter margin, but Booker was always almost certain to win. The goal of giving him a decent opponent was, more than anything, to take some of the sheen off this media darling. With tremendous help from the reporting of Eliana Johnson, this race did some of that, revealing Booker’s exaggerations and imaginary friends in his tales of Newark heroism:
Booker’s tales of his trials and travails on the streets of Newark, the city that twice elected him mayor, are familiar, and they have helped to breed an almost mythological aura around the Stanford, Oxford, and Yale graduate. He did, after all, rescue a woman from a burning building last year, sustaining burns in the process. But sources tell National Review Online that the central character in one of Booker’s oft-repeated stories — T-Bone, the drug pusher who the mayor has said threatened his life at one turn and sobbed on his shoulder the next — is a figment of his imagination, even though Booker has talked about him in highly emotional terms and in great detail.
The revelation that the 15-year-old son of campaign contributor Jeff Zucker was on the board of a Booker co-founded start-up also offered a story to sully the two-dimensional heroic Booker narrative we’ve gotten up until now. And, as we all know an appealing two-dimensional narrative gone unchecked can be a dangerous thing. We’ve got one as president.
Update: Lynsie Lee, the single Booker’s online buddy and self-described “stripper model weirdo,” gave him a public congratulations. With her boobs. Content warning, in case you didn’t gather that, though I think Twitter makes you opt in to graphic images, so this should be pre-censored for you even if you click through. Do with that what you will.
Update: Results are here, though I don’t think they’re changing much.