Obama Backs Cory Booker in New Jersey Special Election | #NJSEN

Booker is the front-runner for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama endorsed Newark Mayor Cory Booker's special-election campaign for Senate, calling the New Jersey Democrat an "important partner" for his party's key issues.

"Cory Booker has dedicated his life to the work of building hope and opportunity in communities where too little of either existed," Obama said in a Wednesday statement from Booker's campaign that ran in USA Today. "Whether as a college student working in East Palo Alto or as mayor of New Jersey's largest city, Cory has time and again taken on tough challenges, fought for the middle class and those working to join it, and forged coalitions that create progress — and that's the spirit he'll carry with him to Washington."

Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., died in June, prompting a special election for his seat.

Earlier this month, Booker won the primary over two members of Congress and a state legislator. He will face the Republican nominee, Steve Lonegan, in the Oct. 16 special.

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