By Yaël Ossowski | Watchdog.org
While Newark Mayor Cory Booker‘s fate once seemed written in the stars, it’s now careening ever violently toward the sun.
At least that’s the indication from the campaign trail just 12 days out from the special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey.
The tweet-a-stripper mishap and the swift introduction of negative ads against his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, has signaled to critics that Booker’s celebrity status and massive Twitter following may not be enough to lock up another Democratic voice in the Senate.
Booker’s first attack ad on Lonegan paints him as a tea party extremist, ready to “end medicare and social security, ban abortion,” and to shut down the federal government at all costs.
It’s been picked up by the Republican’s supporters in rallies throughout New Jersey, used as a rallying cry for enthusiastic conservatives alongside their message that Booker worries more about his national persona than the people of the Garden State.
Whether expected or not, many judge that Lonegan’s strategy has worked in the last few weeks, allowing him to turn the sure victory for Booker into a real question, picked up by the national press at every angle:
If Lonegan’s internal polls prove correct, putting the race within 3 points, there could be a fighting chance for the small-town mayor turned conservative activist.
His most recent endorsement by conservative darling and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will also help boost the grassroots, which may prove essential if Lonegan aims to take down the man many see as the hyperactive Twitter king of the northeast.
The latest official survey this week by Mammoth University, however, still gives Booker a 13-point lead, which may prove difficult for Lonegan to topple.
Either way, as the campaign heats up and questions about voter enthusiasm and unsure turnout mount, this race will reward the candidate most able to rally the troops to go out and vote Oct. 16.
It’ll be up to Booker to prove his muster Friday afternoon in the first of two televised debates against Lonegan, the second taking place Wednesday.
The debates will be streamed live on ABC7 in New York City.