By John Burton
The clock – without a lot of time on it to begin with – is ticking down for potential U.S. Senate candidates as their volunteers have only until tomorrow afternoon to collect enough signatures on petitions for them to qualify for the special Aug. 13 primary.
Gov. Chris Christie’s announced last week the state will conduct a special primary this summer with a special election Wednesday, Oct. 16, to fill the vacancy caused by Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s death on June 3. The announcement left prospective candidates less than a week have to collect 1,000 signatures and file their petitions with the state Division of Elections by 4 p.m. tomorrow – Monday, June 10.
As of late Friday afternoon, no petitions had been filed.
Eariler this year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, announced his intention to run for the office. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-12th, said Thursday he will be running. And, while Holt’s long-time political and policy ally, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, the Long Branch Democrat who presents the 6th District, has not publicly commented on his intentions, emails were sent on his behalf Thursday asking supporters to volunteer to go door-to-door this weekend to collect signatures.
On the Republican side, the only declared candidate is Steve Lonegan, the former Bogota mayor. Lonegan has tried twice before – in 2005 and 2009 – to win the GOP nomination for governor. He also ran unsuccessfully in 1998 for Congress in the 9th District.