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Booker, Watson Coleman win seats in New Jersey midterm elections

Incumbent Senator Cory Booker defeated opponent Jeff Bell to claim a second term as New Jersey Senator, and Bonnie Watson Coleman defeated opponent Dr. Alieta Eck in a bid for New Jersey’s 12th district congressional seat on Tuesday night.

Both elected Congress members represent the Democratic party.


The New Jersey Senate election was called minutes after polls closed, announcing Booker’s victory based on exit polling data.

Booker first won the Senate seat in a special election to fill the term of the Senator Frank Lautenberg following his death in 2013; his current bid is for a full six-year term.

He also previously served as the mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.

Booker acknowledged his win on Twitter, thanking New Jersey and stating that he is excited to continue serving the citizens of the state.

His midterm election campaign primarily focused on bridging gaps in Congress and collaborating with Republicans on issues which they share common ground.

“I want to renew the promise I made during my first election: that I will work with anyone, from any party, who is willing to join me to move New Jersey, and our country, forward," said Booker in an email to supporters on election night before polls closed, according to the Asbury Park Press.


Like Booker, Watson Coleman has also had a lengthy career in politics.

She has served as assemblywoman in the State General Assembly since 1997, serving as majority leader from 2006 to 2009.

However, this is her first election to a federal seat; her bid began after congressman Rush Holt announced his retirement in February. She defeated a field of four primary candidates to claim the Democratic endorsement.

The 12th district congressional race was called in favor of Watson Coleman when she reached a margin of 68 percent of the vote, with 43.12 percent of precincts reporting.

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Though Watson Coleman’s campaign site officially mentions 10 key platform points — consisting of job creation, education, energy and the environment, gun violence, health care, LGBT rights, technology, Social Security and Medicare, voting rights and women’s rights — Watson Coleman told The Daily Princetonian in an interview on Oct. 16that no one issue is most important to her. Rather, Watson Coleman will focus on government’s role in people's lives and protecting their rights.

“If I were to speak to what is most important to me, it is [the role of] government to protect and preserve the rights of individuals and the opportunities of individuals,” she said.

Watson Coleman is both the first woman to represent New Jersey in Congress since 2003 and the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress from New Jersey.

The public question allowing the pretrial detention of defendants also passed.