U.S. Senate race: Bell bashes Booker on economics; Senator strikes back on residency

By Mark Bonamo | September 11th, 2014

 two recent polls showing incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) with a 13-point lead over Republican challenger Jeff Bell, Booker's rival responded by questioning polling methods and the senator's economic policies.

"It was a good poll for me because it did only registered voters," Bell told PolitickerNJ on Wednesday night at the birthday fundraiser held in East Brunswick in honor of Gov. Chris Christie. "The main reason that I'm trailing in the polls is simply that not enough people know about me. But I'm definitely within range."

According to the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll released on Wednesday, the registered voters polled back Booker by a 42 percent to 29 percent margin over Bell, with 27 percent unsure who they will support in November. 

A poll released Wednesday by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy indicated that Booker leads 49 percent to 36 percent over Bell among likely voters polled. Twelve percent were undecided, while 3 percent expressed other choices or declined to answer.

Bell continued to challenge Booker on policy issues. 

"[Booker] has no economic plans to improve the economy. None," Bell said. "He thinks what we're doing now is good, and he's going to continue it. I don't think that's going to be good enough for voters."

Bell advocates a monetary reform plan that includes a return to the gold standard. James A. Baker, III, the 61st Secretary of State and 67th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, endorsed Bell earlier this week. 

"Jeff Bell was a key man in getting Ronald Reagan's successful economic policies off the ground and now his advocacy for a dollar as good as gold is what's needed in the U.S. Senate," said Baker in a written statement. 

In response to Bell's claims, the Booker campaign first focused on his recent return to New Jersey after living more than 30 years in Virginia.

“Instead of bringing forward-thinking New Jersey values to Washington, Jeff Bell wants to import Washington values to New Jersey,” said Booker campaign manager and Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill about Booker's opponent, who lost his first U.S. Senate bid to Democrat Bill Bradley in 1978. “After three decades of living inside the Beltway, it is tragic that Jeff Bell shopped around and decided on New Jersey as the best place to import his extremist Tea Party views." 

Gill then laced into Bell's assertion that Booker lacks economic policy plans for New Jersey. 

"I am not sure how Jeff Bell can make this claim when he has barely been in the state to talked to New Jerseyans about their economic needs. Senator Booker on the other hand has talked to businesses around the state, and has heard their request of needing more certainty from government – from a long-term transportation and infrastructure policy, to better worker training programs to prepare workers for jobs, to sensible tax reform, to taking advantage of energy resources, to allowing innovators and entrepreneurs to excel," Gill said. 

"Senator Booker believes that early investments in education, infrastructure, our roads and ports pay dividends for future generation, and pave the way for investment and job growth in the U.S.. He also recognizes that business needs to do their part – that is why he has fought for things like paycheck fairness, and paid leave, recognizing the nature of today's workforce," Gill added. "Senator Booker's economic plan wasn't discredited 80 years ago for making the 1930's depression worse and which today would hurt New Jersey's middle class and kill jobs."​

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