NEWARK — Just an hour and a half after polls closed Wednesday night across New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker was announced the winner of the special election to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Booker beat Republican Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bergen County's Bogota, with nearly 56% of the vote, according to preliminary results. The Associated Press called the race for Booker around 9:30 p.m.
The mayor is set to address supporters late Wednesday night in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
Because Booker comes into office by way of an off-year special election, the timing of his arrival in Washington remains unclear. Before he can officially replace Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa, the Republican acting senator appointed by Gov. Chris Christie in June, the state must first certify the election results.
And when will that happen? The New Jersey Secretary of State's office, according to the Star-Ledger, has until Nov. 13. A spokesman for Christie, though, has said the governor fully anticipates the process to wrap up "before Nov. 5," the date of New Jersey's gubernatorial election.
Once results have been certified, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Vice President Joe Biden will schedule a time for Booker to take the oath of office.
Until Booker is sworn in by Biden, he continues to serve in his capacity as mayor of Newark, a post he has held now for seven years.
Booker is set to join a divided, fractured Senate, on the heels of a protracted battle over President Obama's health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act. His victory Wednesday night came just as Congress was poised to reopen the federal government after a two-week partial shutdown.