With a month to go until the New Jersey special senatorial election, it is looking better for Democrat Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has extended his lead over Republican former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, now with a better than two-to-one margin among likely voters.
Lonegan has struggled to make this a referendum on President Obama's policies, making appearances with Senator Rand Paul and criticizing Obamacare, Syria policy, and the liberal positions on marriage and abortion. Booker, however, keeps making the race about himself, stealing attention with comments about his own sexuality, such that Lonegan is forced to address questions from the media concerning Booker's statements. Those statements amount almost to Booker casually apologizing for being heterosexual but being pleased when people think he is "gay", because he strongly supports gay marriage. Lonegan says this race is not about Booker's personality, and that it does not matter whether Booker is homosexual, but about whether he is too liberal for New Jersey.
Booker has taken a couple of blows to his image. It has come out that one of the people he has frequently described in his speeches, a Newark drug pusher known as T-Bone, is a fictional construct of stereotypes, not a real person; Rand Paul has made reference to this, saying that Lonegan only knows real people, not imaginary ones. Booker's claim, too, that one third of all New Jersey real estate growth is in Newark was found to be dubious--true if based solely on square footage, but when measured by either property value or building permits the city is second (to Jersey City) with only three percent based on value.
Lonegan is gaining financial support nationally from conservatives; The Drudge Report has joined the fundraising efforts. (Booker gets a significant amount of his support from national audiences.) He continues to voice the conservative agenda, opposing the current administration on nearly every front. Booker, meanwhile, has made a major statement supporting stricter gun control, continues to support Obamacare, abortion, and most other major liberal policies. Perhaps the only issues on which they approach agreement is Syria (both say that military use should be a last resort, although Booker seems more prone to hear the arguments) and NSA spying (both want to tighten the restrictions on such activities).
Lonegan still needs a significant turnaround; as it appears at present, Booker not only has more voters on his side, he has more voters excited about being on his side.