Lonegan wins GOP nomination for US Senate in NJ

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan arrives at the Bogota Recreation Center to vote with his daughter Brooke, left, and wife, Lorraine, in the special election primary in Bogota, N.J., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican Steve Lonegan (LON'-uh-guhn) has won his party's nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey.

The former Bogota (bah-GOH'-tah) mayor easily defeated Franklin Township physician Alieta (uh-LEET'-uh) Eck in Tuesday's primary.

Lonegan resigned from his job as New Jersey director of the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity to run. He twice sought his party's nomination for governor but lost both primaries. He has had success at leading campaigns to defeat statewide referendums, such as one to fund open-space preservation.

Lonegan moves to the Oct. 16 special election to fill the final 15 months of the Senate term of Democrat Frank Lautenberg (LOW'-tuhn-burg), who died in June.

The Democratic primary featured Newark Mayor Cory Booker, two congressmen and the state Assembly speaker.

Critics say Republican Gov. Chris Christie scheduled the primaries and special election to avoid being on the same November ballot as Booker. Christie denies that.