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PPP just came out with their newest poll from the Garden State where they test both the Governor and Senator race.  In the Senate race, Frank Lautenberg (D) has a 43/36 approval rating and would crush potential GOP nominee, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno by 15 points:


Democratic primary voters are happy with Lautenberg but they are ready for a fresh face:

63% approve of the job he's doing to 18% who disapprove. Nevertheless they're ready for a fresher face in the Senate. Only 36% of them think Lautenberg should seek another term in 2014, while 45% think he should retire and 20% are not sure. - PPP, 11/29/12
And who would that fresh be you ask?  None other than Newark Mayor and Democratic rising star, Cory Booker:

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If Lautenberg was to retire- or even if he doesn't- the choice of New Jersey Democrats to be their next Senator is clear: Cory Booker. By a 59/22 margin Democrats say they would prefer their candidate in 2014 be Booker than Lautenberg. And Booker emerges as the strong favorite in an open seat situation too. 48% would want Booker as their candidate compared to 17% for Rob Andrews and 13% for Frank Pallone, both Congressmen who have shown an interest in moving up. - PPP, 11/29/12

If Booker were to challenge and defeat Lautenberg, would that cause a major upset and put the Senate seat in play?  PPP says "no":

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Booker would be even stronger than Lautenberg in a head to head match up with Guadagno, leading her 52 to 29. 48% of New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Booker to only 20% with a negative one. He's very popular with Democrats (60/13) and independents (45/21) and even comes close to breaking even with Republicans at 29/34. In the match up with Guadagno he takes 21% of the GOP vote while losing only 7% of Democrats, and wins independents by an 18 point margin. - PPP, 11/29/12

So whether it's Lautenberg or Booker, this seat is safe but PPP also tested Congressmen Rob Andrews and Frank Pallone against Guadagno and showed a tighter race:
An open seat situation could be a little bit dicier for Democrats if Booker didn't choose to run. Andrews leads Guadagno 35/34 in a hypothetical match up and Pallone ties her at 32. There are more than twice as many undecided Democrats as Republicans in each of those scenarios though so it still seems unlikely this seat would prove to be a top tier pick up opportunity for the GOP even in an open seat situation. - PPP, 11/29/12
So I know there has been speculation about Booker running against Governor Chris Christie (R) in 2013 but PPP will be confirming Quinnipac's polling showing an uphill battle for Booker.  Christie's approval ratings are up big because of how he handled Hurricane Sandy and worked with President Obama so Booker may want to rethink about whether he wants to become a Senator or take a gamble on the Governor race.

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I know this race isn't exactly the primary challenge race we wanted this year.  We are all hoping for outgoing Montana Governor, Brian Schweitzer (D) to primary challenge Senator Max Baucus.  Not sure if that will or will not happen.  I like Booker a lot and his candidacy would certainly bring some excitement to the 2014 midterms and would generate a large voter turn out but as I mentioned in my previous diary, Lautenberg isn't crazy about Booker running for his seat and forcing him into retirement:


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Some Democrats would like to see Newark Mayor Cory Booker fill the seat but Lautenberg may not give it up without a fight. He criticized Booker in May for undermining Obama’s re-election effort after Booker said the president’s campaign should drop efforts to vilify Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. - The Hill, 11/25/12

I like Booker a lot and he is a true public servant.  I mean this is the guy who saved a woman from a burning building and has helped bring business to Newark but his past comments about Obama going after Bain Capital do give me reservations about his run.  I don't doubt that Booker would run a great campaign against Christie if he chose to run for governor but timing is everything.  Who do you think the Dem nominee for the New Jersey U.S. Senate race should be?

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Who should New Jersey Democrats nominate for the U.S. Senate race in 2014?

22%14 votes
63%39 votes
13%8 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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