Special Senate Race Heats Up As Candidates Become More Vocal

By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
NJ Today

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver was in her Statehouse office today. Her campaign office is on the 15th floor of a building in Newark.

In an e-mail request for contributions, she says most U.S. Senators just don’t get it.

“Many of our senators have not lived the life of an average working class person. Most of the U.S. Senate is comprised of multi-millionaires,” Oliver said.

She says it’s time to make the Senate look like the rest of America, and that means more female.

“Forty percent of all of the households in this country — headed by women. Many of the men that serve in the U.S. Senate have not had to deal or experience some of the things 40 percent of the heads of household in this country have to address,” Oliver said. “The Senate is comprised primarily of men. Men do not constitute the majority of the population in this country.”

Oliver faces three other Democrats in the Aug. 13 primary.

Frank Pallone, put out a web ad today. “I’m a typical Jersey story,” he says in the ad. “If you met him on the street and didn’t know who he was, you’d think he was just a regular, ordinary Joe. That’s Frank Pallone,” the ad says.

Cory Booker is dominating the field, and his active Twitter account drew this from from the fourth candidate Rush Holt. “The problems before the U.S. Senate can’t be dealt with in 140 characters,” Holt said.

Oliver says Booker has been too close to Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

“We have been fighting with the governor in Trenton over this issue of the minimum wage for two years. This week was the first week Cory Booker put out a policy position statement on elevating the minimum wage,” Oliver said. “Where was Cory Booker’s voice on minimum wage when the Democratic majorities here in the Statehouse were fighting to have our bills signed by the governor?”

Regarding yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll that had Booker at 52 percent and her at 3, she says don’t trust it in a low-turnout August election.

“I think that this election cannot be viewed one month out as definitely being a race that Cory Booker will win,” Oliver said.

She is not running to spoil it for Booker, she says, in fact has no ulterior motives.

“I’ve never really had close, intimate, organizational or political involvements with him. I don’t have enough of an experience with him,” Oliver said.

Booker just reported raising $4.6 million. Oliver says she doesn’t know how much she has raised.