Despite High Poll Numbers, Cory Booker Gets a Royal Jersey Snub

The family of late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whom Booker hopes to succeed, endorses the mayor's opponent.

Posted: 07/09/2013 05:48 PM EDT

The conventional wisdom has long been that the special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg is Newark Mayor Cory Booker's to lose. In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Booker handily wins the primary and the general election by more than 50 percent, compared to 10 percent for Congressman Frank Pallone, his nearest competitor.

But Lautenberg's family is hoping to reverse Booker's political fortunes, starting with its key endorsement of Pallone that takes a big dig at the popular mayor.

Pallone, the family says, shares the same values as the late longtime senator, who died last month, including being a "workhorse not a showhorse."

“Frank Pallone, like our Frank, will put in the hours and hard work necessary to fight for New Jersey in the Senate. And Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won’t get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future," they said in a statement.

Booker angered Lautenberg when he announced that he was seriously considering a bid for the seat before the elder lawmaker had announced whether he would retire. Lautenberg said Booker deserved a spanking, like he used to give his "occasionally disrespectful" children when they were young.

Booker took the hit in stride.

"Senator Lautenberg and Congressman Pallone worked together for decades in Congress, but ultimately, this race will be decided by which candidate best explains his or her vision for leading New Jersey and by who has a record of getting things done to improve lives," he said in a statement to ABC News.

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(Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images)

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