Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) continues to be the top choice among New Jersey Democrats to run in the state's U.S. Senate race next year, according to poll findings from Monmouth University released Thursday.
Forty percent of potential Democratic primary voters in the state said they would vote for Booker, whose announcement that he will explore a run in 2014 for the seat currently held Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has drawn the ire of the 89-year-old incumbent. The poll showed that a quarter of primary voters would back Lautenberg. Three other lesser-known Democrats were tested in the poll, but all failed to break five percent support.
Polls thus far have shown Booker is the prohibitive favorite among Garden State Democrats, despite the very public criticism he's received from Lautenberg's camp. Booker made his announcement before Lautenberg finalized his own future plans, a move interpreted by some as disrespectful to the five-term senator. Lautenberg insinuated last month that Booker deserves a "spanking." In a profile published earlier this week in the New York Times, Lautenberg once again needled Booker and said the popular mayor's announcement won him "a lot of friends."