TRENTON - The Monday afternoon deadline for U.S. Senate candidates to file paperwork with New Jersey election officials has come and gone.
The seat opened when Sen. Frank Lautenberg died last week. Gov. Chris Christie decided to schedule a primary for August and a special general election for October. He also appointed state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to hold the Senate seat until voters have their say.
Rep. Frank Pallone held a news conference to announce his run.
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"I think if you look at my record in congress and you compare that to my opponents, you'll choose me because you know that I can get things done,” he said.
He joins Rep. Rush Holt, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver in the Democratic race. Two declared Republicans are also seeking the seat: former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Somerset doctor Alieta Eck.
A Quinnipiac poll out today shows Booker holding a substantial lead over his largely unknown primary opponents.
Chiesa, who was sworn in Monday, says he won't seek the seat on a permanent basis.
Gov. Christie has not declared support for any of the candidates.