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N.J. Senate Hopeful Wants Debates Ahead Of August Special Election Primary

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - Rep. Frank Pallone is calling for multiple debates leading up to the August Democratic U.S. Senate primary in New Jersey.

He released a statement Monday saying voters should be able to make a decision that is not "based solely on slick TV ads and 20-second sound bites.''

Early polls show Newark Mayor Cory Booker the clear front-runner in race that also includes Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Two Republicans will also face off in the primary for a shot at the seat.

In a statement, a Booker campaign spokesman says the mayor will be evaluating debate invitations and did not commit to accepting Pallone's proposal.

They are all running to complete the term of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this month at the age of 89.

The special primary is scheduled for Aug. 13, with a general election Oct. 16.

Gov. Chris Christie appointed Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa as interim senator until the voters can pick their new representative in the senate.

Lautenberg's term ends in January 2015.

Christie has come under fire from some for deciding to hold the special election just weeks before the already planned general election in November. Critics said the move will cost the state $24 million.

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