Booker, Pallone step up TV battle

WASHINGTON -- With just three weeks to go until New Jersey's Senate primary, the Democratic candidates signaled a new wave of intensity on the airwaves and online.

Congressman Frank Pallone launched is first television ad and has a campaign event today with Bonnie Lautenberg, the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Pallone's ad, which will air in the Philadelphia and New York markets, casts him as a "regular, ordinary Joe" who "gets things done," including a key role pushing President Obama's health care reform through the House.

Unlike his previous Web videos, Pallone does not speak to the camera in this ad; a narrator and other speakers do the talking.

Pallone is the second candidate to go up on TV. Newark Mayor Cory Booker has already been up on television, and polls show he is the clear front-runner.

Pallone started the race with nearly $4 million, but has not been on TV until now.

Booker, meanwhile, with a strong lead in the polls and fund-raising, is putting his third TV ad on the air.

"We cannot have policies that divide instead of bringing us together," Booker says in his new spot, vowing to raise the minimum wage, fight child poverty and protect Social Security and Medicare, all positions sure to appeal to a Democratic primary electorate.

(Over the weekend I wrote about how Booker's opponents have been challenging his Democratic credentials).

Congressman Rush Holt, meanwhile, has a fourth policy-focused Web ad, this one on climate change. He again highlights his background as a scientist. Holt says science shows that climate change is real, humans are to blame and the consequences could cost millions of lives.

"That's science, that's reality," Holt says. He calls for a carbon tax to fight the problem. "We can no longer allow Republicans to deny obvious truths ... America must act."

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is also running for the Democratic Senate nomination, but has not launched any ads.

Republicans Steve Lonegan and Alieta Eck are competing for the GOP nomination.

The primary is Aug. 13.


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