By Yaël Ossowski |

A new ad released by Newark Mayor Cory Booker‘s campaign for the special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey paints a demagogic picture of his Republican opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, deeming him a radical” “too extreme for New Jersey.”

The ad includes a clip of Lonegan calling himself a “right-wing radical,” countered by a dire voice over claiming he wants to “shutdown government, privatize social security and medicare, and ban all abortions.”


The ad is one of the first negative ads put out by the Booker campaign, and seeks to capitalize on the furor over the federal government shutdown initiated by the House and Senate’s inability to pass a budget for the new fiscal year.

But as far as radical notions, it seems Booker doesn’t fall far behind.

One of the main pushes for the Democratic mayor’s campaign across the state has been a 40-percent hike in the federal minimum wage, from $7.25 an hour to more than $10.10. This follows his recent campaign with New Jersey’s Democratic lawmakers to rise the minimum wage in the Garden State.

“We’ve started to see an economy recover, more economic growth, but wages are not stagnating — real wages are actually declining,” Booker told a “Raise the Wage” rally in June in East Orange. ”Thanks to the Legislature and Legislature leaders, we have this precious opportunity to change this reality. This is not just an issue for the working poor, it’s an issue for all of us in New Jersey.”

Such measures have been panned by economists, who either prefer incremental increases over a longer period or remain sternly opposed to rising the minimum wage.

2013 Texas A&M University study for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that minimum wage increases actually end up hurting the very people they’re intended to help: young people with little or no skills.

“It seems quite callous to ignore those who will have a harder time getting onto the first rung of the work experience ladder, especially with unemployment being so high among young people and those with low levels of education,” study co-author Jonathan Mears told

“Based on our research, an increase in the minimum wage would slow the rate of job growth. It’s unlikely that there would be widespread job losses, but fewer new jobs would be created.”

The debate for a higher minimum wage remains contentious among Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House, and will likely become a huge issue once New Jersey’s newest Senator takes office after the Oct. 16 election.

Booker’s campaign did not return‘s request for comment.

Contact Yaël Ossowski at and on Twitter @YaelOss