Report: Rep. Pallone joins NJ Senate race

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) will join the growing field of contenders to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).

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In an interview with The Associated Press, Pallone said he would make a formal announcement on Monday and enter the New Jersey Senate race.

The New Jersey Democrat will face off against popular Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, a nationally recognized rising star in the Democratic party who has support from some high-profile celebrities, as well as Pallone's House colleague, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.). Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has also announced her intention to run.

Pallone said his congressional experience and progressive record, including his support of the Affordable Care Act, would give him an edge over his Democratic opponents in the state.

“At the end of the day, we’re all going to run on our records,” he told the AP. “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.”

Lautenberg had planned to retire in 2015, but died earlier this month at the age of 89. His death set off a scramble among New Jersey Democrats interested in filling the seat, which hasn’t been held by a Republicans in more than four decades.