Democrat Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, has won the U.S. Senate election in New Jersey, handily defeating Republican opponent Steve Lonegan,a former small-town New Jersey mayor, with 55 percent of the vote, according to polls.
Booker becomes the second African-American in the Senate along with Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Voters in New Jersey headed to the polls Wednesday to cast ballots in the special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat, left open after the death of Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg in June.
Booker, who was heavily favored to win, characterized the race as a referendum on the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Washington in recent weeks, while Lonegan argued in support of the partial federal government shutdown that began more than two weeks ago.
Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz