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Booker, Lonegan face off in heated debate

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By ANGELA DELLI SANTI
Associated Press

GLASSBORO, N.J. (AP) - With one week to go before a special election for U.S. Senate, Democrat Cory Booker is betting that New Jersey voters will find Republican Steve Lonegan's support for the government shutdown and opposition to gay marriage too extreme.

Booker, the second term mayor of Newark, and Lonegan, the former state director of a group advocating for limited government and expanded personal liberties, squared off in the second of two debates on Wednesday night.

The first debate had fireworks. This one contained explosive comments.

Lonegan said too much of the state's income and sales tax money "gets poured into a big black hole" in Newark and its residents may not be able to swim in its river because of all the shooting victims' floating bodies.

Booker fired back that Lonegan ran Bogota "into a ditch" as its mayor and had to ask for a bailout. He says Lonegan's campaign is based on insults, condemnations and shut-down politics.

Booker maintains a comfortable lead in the race. However, after coasting through the Democratic primary, he has had to work harder in the general election campaign.

New Jerseyans have not elected a Republican to U.S. Senate in more than 40 years. In the state, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 400,000.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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