Despite both parties looking to wrest control of the U.S. Senate, the race in New Jersey is seen as clear sailing for Sen. Cory Booker in his contest against Rik Mehta.
For Booker, whose national profile was raised during his campaign to be the Democratic nominee for President, his bid to return to Washington is based on his ability to deliver needed services to New Jersey during hard times.
“I have spent my entire career running at the toughest challenges and working to bring people together to accomplish things others said were impossible,” said Booker “And for the last six years as New Jersey’s Senator, I’ve been able to do just that in a broken Washington and deliver real results for New Jerseyans.”
Booker said as the country faces “the greatest health and economic threat of our lifetime” due to the coronavirus, he has fought for $2 billion in resources for New Jersey’s frontline healthcare workers and first responders needs while securing economic lifelines for workers and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Record of Accomplishments
In his six years working in the nation’s capital, Booker pointed to accomplishments that include his environmental record and his efforts to help New Jerseyans rebound from Superstorm Sandy in his ability to deliver for his home state.
“I delivered tens of millions of dollars in funding to remove lead from our drinking water, and helped create landmark incentives that draw new economic investment into communities across our state that need it most,” said Booker. “I am also proud to have led the effort to jump start the stalled Gateway tunnel project, help ban drilling off of the New Jersey coast, and assist New Jersey families rebuild from Superstorm Sandy.”
Work Left to Do
The former Newark mayor noted his ability to work with colleagues across the aisle in a time that he described as “unprecedented division,” including to pass into law, with bi-partisan support, reforms to the U.S. criminal justice system.
But the work is not done in Booker’s eyes.
“From taking on the NRA to stop the scourge of gun violence in our communities, to fighting to stop the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring our economic recovery lifts up every New Jerseyan in every community that has been struggling, to protecting and expanding health coverage for New Jerseyans and fighting to drive down health care costs, I will keep working to make justice and opportunity real for every New Jerseyan in the Senate,” said Booker.
The most recent poll shows Booker leading GOP challenger Rik Mehta 52% to 28%, with 16% undecided and 5% planning to vote for someone else. But Mehta believes he is set to upset the first-term Senator this November.
Mehta, a Rutgers graduate who is both a pharmacist and lawyer, is a small business owner who previously worked at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a consumer safety officer who was charged with advancing policies to expedite and increase access to quality, affordable drugs and health care.
One of the tenants of the Mehta campaign is to return medical manufacturing jobs to New Jersey, believing the U.S. made a mistake allowing the manufacture of essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies—including ventilators, drugs or ‘point of care’ testing needed for the winter season—in China.
“The policies the Republicans have will benefit and create opportunities for all,” Mehta recently said on a video posted on his Facebook page.
“It’s time we bring more federal funding back to them, it’s time we bring back jobs to them,” said the Morris County resident. “You know who has benefited under Cory Booker’s watch? China, that’s who.”
A first generation American, Mehta describes himself as a staunch advocate for defending Constitutional rights, fighting against illegal immigration and Sanctuary Cities, and an affordable, accessible healthcare system.
He has taken positions to benefit New Jersey that go against current GOP policy, specifically restoring the State and Local Tax deduction that was eliminated by Republicans during President Donald Trump’s first term.
On his website, Mehta states that “of all the punitive acts of the 115th Congress, none were more so than capping the state and local tax deduction. The provision raised taxes on New Jersey homeowners, families with children and made it more difficult for school districts to maintain rigorous academic standards. Restoring State and Local Tax deduction in the federal tax code will be my priority.”