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Hollywood Favorite Cory Booker Wins N.J. Senate Primary

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star on the Democratic stage and a favorite of Hollywood’s donor community, won a primary election on Tuesday in the special election to succeed Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.

The Associated Press reported that Booker won the Democratic primary over rivals including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Rush Holt (D-N.J.).

The special election will take place on Oct. 16. Booker will face Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, N.J.

Booker has long courted and cultivated celebrity support and Hollywood donors, with Oprah Winfrey hosting a fundraiser and figures like Eva Longoria sending out tweets urging New Jersey voters to cast their ballots for him.  In April, producer Jerry Weintraub and partner Susan Elkins hosted a fundraiser for Booker, drawing a who’s who of politically active Hollywood, including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, J.J. Abrams, Steve Bing and Bryan Lourd among the cohosts, along with Disney’s Bob Iger, Sony’s Michael Lynton, Warner Bros.’ Barry Meyer and Kevin Tsujihara.

While Booker has used his national profile to boost philanthropic projects in Newark, his celebrity came under criticism during the primary race, as Lautenberg family members last month endorsed Pallone, saying he would be a “workhorse, and not a show horse.”

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Booker has raised $131,000 from entertainment sources, his third biggest donor pool after securities and investment firms and lawyers.

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