Voting is complete and the counting has started for today's special Senate election between Democrat Newark mayor Cody Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan.

VOTE COUNT:

U.S. Senate

2,623 of 6,330 precincts - 41 percent

Cory Booker, Dem 299,069 - 55 percent

Steven Lonegan, GOP 243,339 - 44 percent

Others 5,750 - 1 percent

 

 

 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker emerges from the polling booth after casting his vote (John Moore/Getty Images)

Voting was reported to be steady in Essex County. "The place I’ve checked in Newark, Montclair, Maplewood and West Orange — they’re saying it’s pretty steady,” County Clerk Chris Durkin told the Star Ledger, adding that turnout is a bit higher than expected. On the other hand, Warren County turnout is light.

Today's election will fill the U.S. Senate seat that became open when longtime Senator Frank Lautenberg died suddenly in June. Governor Chris Christie appointed Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to fill the seat and ordered a special election to determine who will fill out his term.

Booker voted Wednesday morning at an apartment complex in downtown Newark, while Lonegan cast his ballot in his hometown of Bogota, the town he led as mayor for three terms.

While a Quinipiac poll released yesterday gives Newark's mayor a 14-point lead over Lonegan 54%-40%, Booker campaigned hard on the last day before the polls open and throwing barbs at Lonegan. “He’s been saying a lot of ridiculous things over the last few days of the campaign,” Booker told the Star Ledger during stop in Hoboken . “So I choose not to pay attention.” 

Steve Lonegan at a rally in Morristown as Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC speaks (Facebook)

Lonengan campaigned in Morristown with GOP National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “We are tired of show ponies in Washington,” Priebus said according to the  Star Ledger . “We want someone who is real, authentic and genuine, and wants to serve this country with a pure heart and make a difference. It’s no too much to ask."

 

If Booker wins he would become the second black U.S. senator, along with Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. The 57-year-old Lonegan, meanwhile,  quit the conservative political advocacy group Anericans For Prosperity, to run for office.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report