Newark Mayor and Silicon Valley white knight Cory Booker trounced his competitors in last night’s primary election. He raked in four times as many votes as his closest Democratic competitor, Congressman Rush Holt, and more than 100,000 people turned out to vote just for him, compared to the last non-presidential race in 2006.
For Booker’s innovative use of technology, he made friends fast with the Silicon Valley elite, ultimately leading to millions of dollars in investments in his video startup, #waywire. But with celebrity supporters and consulting firm 270 Strategies — which was launched by veterans of President Obama’s campaign — Booker has come under the watchful eye of a political press suspicious of anyone who rubs shoulders with the social elite. This did matter in the primary, as he sailed to victory.
He Got A Lot Of Votes
Source, Politico (98% of precincts reporting)
Booker, Alone, May Have Caused The Surge In Turnout
For the last 20 years of non-presidential elections, New Jersey primary turnout has hovered around 250,000 votes for the Democrat of choice. Booker snagged 353,000 votes. The total votes for Steve Lonegan, who won the Republican primary and will face Booker in a special election on October 10, did not experience a similar bump in turnout over 2006.
Source: New Jersey Department of State (seriously, New Jersey, lose the PDFs and offer XML format)
His Campaign Has Money
According to transparency watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation, Booker raised 60 percent more than all of his competitors combined ($8.6 million vs. $5.1 million).
Of course, $8.6 million might not even be close to enough, since Booker is a likely presidential contender, and Republicans would be wise to spend a lot of money to try to beat him before he gains momentum.
Divesting in #waywire
As is standard for a federal official, Booker has agreed to put his stake in #waywire into a blind trust if he becomes a U.S. Senator. The $1 million to $5 million worth of investment Booker has in #waywire wouldn’t be as troubling as the financial relationship with the investors. Google and its Chairman, Eric Schmidt, for instance, are under constant scrutiny from the federal government for anti-trust and other issues. It would make it more difficult for Booker to have oversight over Schmidt and his other tech investors if he were financially tied to them (one could argue, it will be difficult whether or not he divests from #waywire).
If I were a betting man, I would say Booker is going to win the Senate race handily.