Cory Booker, the Newark mayor and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, has an 12-point lead over his Republican opponent, former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Here's more from the Bergen County Record:

Booker had 53 percent to Lonegan’s 41 percent, according to the new poll in which Quinnipiac polled 948 likely voters between Sept. 19 and 22.

Lonegan had a slight lead of 48 percent to 46 percent among men, but Booker was overwhelmingly ahead, 60 percent to 34 percent, among women.

Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota who stepped down earlier this year from his post as state leader of the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation, has spent weeks on the attack.

He has challenged Booker’s record on crime in Newark, where the Democrat is in his second term as mayor. Lonegan also accused Booker of ethical improprieties related to his taxes, income and business dealings.

Lonegan's gain in the polls is significant, since a Rutgers poll from earlier this month showed Booker leading the Republican by more than 30 points. Booker remains the heavy favorite in the October special election to replace sitting Republican senator Jeff Chiesa, who was appointed to the Senate after the death of Democrat Frank Lautenberg this year.

The election will be held on October 16, just weeks before New Jersey's gubernatorial election between incumbent Republican Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. Christie's large margin over Buono from early in that race has closed, though according to Real Clear Politics he still leads by an average of more than 20 points.

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