The first debate with all four Democratic candidates vying for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey featured a lot of agreement on foreign policy issues but different ideas on how to fund education.
Congressman Rush Holt criticized Newark Mayor Cory Booker for backing the education policies of Republican Governor Chris Christie. That was echoed by Congressman Frank Pallone. He said, "Mayor Booker has been very supportive of Governor Christie’s plans with education, which means vouchers, which means privatization of schools, which you have to be very wary of."
But Booker shot back, saying he would never apologize for funding education. "For poor kids below the poverty line who are stuck in persistently failing schools who really have no hope, I support scholarships programs to give them a lifeline."
It was Booker's first debate with the other candidates.
The fourth Democratic candidate, State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, focused on the need for bringing more federal dollars to New Jersey's public schools.
The four are running for the U.S. Senate seat of the late Democrat Frank Lautenberg. The party primary is August 13th. Two Republicans also are running, Alieta Eck and Steve Lonegan. The winner of the October 16th election will serve the remainder of Lautenberg's term.