Booker wins Democratic nomination in N.J. Senate primary

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker easily beat back a challenge from community activist Lawrence Hamm Tuesday to secure the Democratic nomination for another six-term in Washington.

The Associated Press called the race for Booker about an hour after the polls closed, even as the state conducted the election primarily through mail-in ballots, with fewer in-person polling places open than usual, due to the coronavirus.

Booker, who first won his Senate seat in a 2013 special election, announced for re-election in January after abandoning his quest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Hamm ran Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaign in New Jersey. He gained attention in the weeks leading up to the primary as he staged peaceful rallies to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Booker helped lead a congressional response to the death of Floyd and several unarmed Blacks at the hands of police, working to craft legislation that would ban chokeholds, stop racial profiling and limit the use of deadly force.

The measure passed the House last month, largely along party lines. A weaker Senate bill failed to get enough support to reach the floor for debate.

Booker also had a major role in successful efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system and provide alternatives to incarceration for many nonviolent offenders. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law in December 2018.

Five Republicans vied to become the first member of their party to win a Senate seat from New Jersey since Clifford Case in 1972:

Rik Mehta, a pharmacist and lawyer; Hirsh Singh, an engineer who lost primaries for governor in 2017 and U.S. House in 2018; Natalie Rivera and Tricia Flanagan, both of whom ran and lost as independent candidates against Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in 2018; and teacher Eugene Anagnos.