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Obama Cites Cory Booker's 'Passion' In Endorsement For U.S. Senate

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - President Barack Obama has endorsed Newark Mayor Cory Booker for U.S. Senate.

Booker, a Democrat, won last week's primary and will face Republican Steve Lonegan in the special general election October.

"Cory Booker has dedicated his life to the work of building hope and opportunity in communities where too little of either existed. Whether as a college student working in East Palo Alto or as mayor of New Jersey's largest city, Cory has time and again taken on tough challenges, fought for the middle class and those working to join it, and forged coalitions that create progress - and that's the spirit he'll carry with him to Washington," President Obama said in a statement released Wednesday.

"His passion for his city has helped create new jobs and attract some of America's top businesses to Newark. Cory will be an important partner in our efforts to reduce gun violence, give every American a fair shot in a global economy, and make our country stronger," the President's statement continued.

Booker beat out three other Democrats to win the nomination.

"I am humbled by President Obama's endorsement," Booker said. "If elected this October, I will go to the Senate to advance our shared vision of a nation where opportunity is available to anyone willing to work for it, and to ensure we're investing in the priorities that helped build America's middle class. The President has taken on the difficult fights. He worked to turn around our economy, to make high-quality, affordable health care available to every American and to keep our country safe. I look forward to continuing to work with him to advance an agenda that spreads prosperity and ensures that our nation realizes the promise of its founding."

Booker's opponent Steve Lonegan issued a statement following the endorsement.

"It's no surprise that Barack Obama endorsed Cory Booker today. Booker is not only a strong and enthusiastic rubber stamp for the Obama Agenda, he has proposed a series of radical ideas even further to the left than anything President Obama has suggested," Lonegan said. "People in New Jersey are sick of Barack Obama's lies, his health care plan, his data collection and his inability to lead our nation back to economic prosperity. Cory Booker is too liberal for New Jersey."

A special election was called after longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg died in office in June. Gov. Chris Christie appointed former state attorney general Jeffrey Chiesa to temporarily fill the seat until a special election could be held.

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