Face-to-Face: NJ Senate Debate

Glassboro, NJ—U.S. Senate candidates, Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan, visited Rowan’s campus Wednesday, Oct. 9 for their final debate. The special election on Oct. 16 will determine the candidate to continue the 15-month term of Democratic senator, Frank Lautenberg—who passed away this year.

The University scored the location of the final debate through pitching the idea of a South Jersey-focused debate, according to university's spokesman, Joe Cardona.

Booker, the current two-term mayor of Newark, is leading the race by 12 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Officials believe this is because his support among the women population.

While, Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, has a serious issue. One of the main problems for Lonegan is many voters do not thoroughly recognize him or issues he stands for. Here is some background from the first debate:

Lonegan is against bailouts. He accused Booker of increasing crime and unemployment during his term in Newark. In addition, discusses Booker's public tweets with a stripper in his first debate.

Although according to Booker, Lonegan is a hypocrite for " [running] up a budget deficit to the point he needed a bailout" for his town. Booker constantly mentions Lonegan association with the tea party extremists which is identified as the Americans for Prosperity

New Jersey has not elected a Republican senator in the past 40 years.

Opposing political parties will always have their disagreements. Tonight the audience experienced political tension first-hand.

The candidates discuss the 9th day of the government shutdown and grade Congress's actions. Booker wants to send people to Washington to communicate to ultimately make a compromise. On the other hand, Lonegan chooses to give the President "a big 'F' and says they need to "do a better job of communicating."

The questions targeted for Booker mainly assess his confidence regarding his town’s progress economically and criminally in his town of Newark.

"We are going through the biggest economic boost in the last 50 years," says Booker. "Right now Uniform Crime Statistics shows... murders are down 15%. We not only done that but we've done that with less resources. This is tremendous progress."

Booker remarks fire arms come from other states. Background checks are necessary but not according to Lonegan.

Lonegan rebuttals stating names of citizens of Booker's town that were killed while Booker was in “Hollywood.”

Lonegan tells citizens he wants to eliminate the Federal Department of Education , Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Commerce and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Later on, Booker mentions Lonegan's hypocrisy regarding his views on bailouts and more.

"This kind of hypocrisy is not good policy," remarks Booker.

When struck with the controversial topic of same-sex marriage, Lonegan breaks under pressure when asked if same-sex couples should have children.

"I have mixed feelings about that," Lonegan nervously remarks. " I support liberty."

"We're all equal under the law," replied Booker. "He said he supports liberty but he wants politicians getting between a woman and her doctor about making her own healthcare decisions."

Abruptly in the middle of the debate, Lonegan remarks, "You've really given an edge to my opponent the entire debate."

This will later bring up another controversial issue of abortion--which replaces closing statements with battling arguments.

The winning candidate will be named at the special election on Oct. 16.