New Jersey Senate primary heats up

May 29, 2008 3:50:39 PM PDT
The New Jersey primary is June 3, and there is a political war being waged by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Rob Andrews.South Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews shocked the political world when he decided to challenge incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg, just days after endorsing him.

In this short campaign, he's been reminding the public that when the 84-year-old Lautenberg first ran for office he criticized his then opponent Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick, who was 72 at the time.

"Why is a man different from a woman? Why are you different from her? It's a question he doesn't like to answer. That's why he's not out at events like this and the public will make that judgment," Rep. Andrews said.

Lautenberg, who's now serving his fourth term after retiring and coming back, has done limited campaigning, preferring to stay in Washington and run TV ads. Attempts by Action News to set up a one on one with the senator were unsuccessful, but in other interviews, Lautenberg has denied Andrews' claim he's been absent from the campaign trail.

"Depends on who's looking because I've been all over the state; we cover the ground, making sure we go to all the counties and we've done that," Sen. Lautenberg said.

In addition to the question of Lautenberg's age, the main issue in the campaign has been Iraq. Lautenberg has run commercials attacking Andrews as a pawn of the Bush Whitehouse who supported the war, but Andrews counters that Lautenberg, too, supported the war.

"In April of 2003, he said he fully supported the President's action. So the senator, after he went to the senate, after he saw the intelligence reports, was strongly for the war," Rep. Andrews said.

The third Democrat running in the primary is Morristown Mayor Donald Crisitello, a real estate developer and construction company owner.

The democrats will engage in three debates before primary day next Tuesday including one in our Channel 6 studios.