Sarah Gonzalez, Reporter, WNYC/NJPR
Sarah Gonzalez is the northern New Jersey enterprise reporter for WNYC and NJPR.
U.S. Senate candidates Cory Booker (D) and Steve Lonegan (R) disagreed on almost everything during their first debate today in Trenton.
Booker supports creating a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented people and offering federal financial aid to college students. Lonegen does not.
The two candidates did agree on reforming the Patriot Act and said the government should not be going through the private records of Americans.
If elected Lonegan said there is one thing he'd like to be known for:
“I want to be known as the guy who dismantled the IRS,” said Lonegan. He also said he would work to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education.
Booker said his signature issue is growing the economy.
“By investing in college affordability and by creating a climate where businesses can grow and come back to our states,” said Booker.
The current mayor of Newark called his Tea-Party-connected opponent part of the problem on Capitol Hill.
"It seems obvious that if he goes down to Washington he would make what's wrong with Washington worse," Booker said. "Right now there is a Tea Party fringe that is shutting down our government and making us more dangerous at home. Stopping funding from coming to families who need it right here in New Jersey."
Lonegan said he supports small businesses and smaller government.
"But most of all I support the constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights and I will fight for those sacred documents," he said. "If they have their way, my opponent, who would be a rubber stamp for Barack Obama, would relegate those sacred documents to the history books as antiquated ideas of the past."
The debate was streamed online by WABC and will be broadcast on Sunday at 11 am.
The special election is October 16.