‘The Ramapo News’ Kicks Off 2013 Election Coverage

This fall, New Jersey will vote in two major elections: the Governor's race and the United States Special Senate Election.

June's primary revealed incumbent Governor Chris Christie running under the Republican nomination, and State Senator from Middlesex County, Barbara Buono running under the Democratic nomination for the Governor's seat.

In the special election on Oct. 16, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan is campaigning as a Republican and Newark Mayor Cory Booker is campaigning as a Democrat for the Congressional seat.

According to a Monmouth University/ Asbury Park Press Poll released on Aug. 21, Christie has a higher approval rating than Buono, with the survey saying that Christie has a 20 point lead over Buono.

"Christie is a conservative with a moderate message. He appeals to Republicans, Independents, and soft Democrats, and actually accomplished a large amount of goals and work across party lines," comments Chris Gabbett, president of the College Republicans. "He's helped pass more reasonable budgets, limit the overinflated influence of the NJEA and managed to bring both parties together on a number of different issues."

Major issues that separate the two candidates include same-sex marriage, public education funding, minimum wage, healthcare and environmental conservation. Buono's openly gay daughter has called out the governor for not supporting same-sex marriage, as reported by NJ.com.

However, as of early September, recent polls wrapped around the Senate race run in the Democratic Party's favor. According to the Eagleton Center for Politics at Rutgers University, the majority favors Booker over Lonegan with Booker holding a 64 percent to – 29 percent lead.

"While we have two elections coming up this semester, it must be emphasized that the Special Senate election is not occurring on the traditional Election Day in November, but actually on Wednesday, Oct. 16," said Louis Di Paolo, President of Ramapo NORML and Vice President of the College Democrats. "The Senate election has two candidates with very close ties to North Jersey and Bergen County, as Cory Booker grew up in Harrington Park and Steve Lonegan was the former mayor of Bogota."

Both Senate candidates ideologically conflict, similarly to Christie and Buono, but again, focus more on local stances and issues in accordance with the cities Booker and Lonegan have worked in previously and/or currently.

According to NJ.com, the Buono campaign agreed to debate the withstanding governor in a public forum on Tuesday, October 8 at William Patterson University. A second gubernatorial debate was scheduled for the following week on the 15, but was allegedly pushed back by the Buono campaign because of the Special U.S. Senate Election on the 16. NJ.com also reports that there will be two Congressional debates between Lonegan and Booker: one on Friday, October 4 in Trenton and the second on Wednesday, October 9 at Rowan University.