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Pallone, Oliver to join New Jersey special election

Update 2:44 p.m.: Pallone has made it official. "We can’t wait for solutions," he said in a statement. "We need results from proven leaders now, which is why I am entering this race and why I am asking for the support of New Jerseyans to be our state’s next Senator. 

Two more Democrats are set to announce Monday that they will join the New Jersey special election: Rep. Frank Pallone and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

Pallone, who has long been expected to compete for the opportunity to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, will announce his campaign at a news conference today, he told AP Sunday night.

"I believe my record of 25 years in Congress and the legislation that I've sponsored and the initiatives I've worked on show I'm the best person to get the job done," Pallone said.

Meanwhile, the Star-Ledger reports that Oliver, who has served as speaker of the state legislature for the last three years, was also telling people Sunday that she will run.

Oliver and Pallone join a primary that includes Newark Mayor Cory Booker -- the favorite -- and Rep. Rush Holt. Pallone is seen as Booker's biggest obstacle to the Democratic nomination -- he's already got $3.7 million in the bank -- while Oliver is the least known of the four.

On the GOP side, the party has been unable to land a top-tier candidate. So far, 2009 gubernatorial runner-up Steve Lonegan says he will run. He faces a dark horse candidate in Dr. Alieta Eck.

The filing deadline is today, meaning whoever is running will need to file 1,000 signatures by the end of the day.

The seat became vacant after Lautenberg (D-N.J.) died last week. The special election is set for Oct. 16, though Democrats are suing to have it moved to November, on regular Election Day.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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