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Senate picture taking shape

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Just a week after the death of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the future of the seat is coming into focus.

Today is the deadline for candidates running in August’s senate primary to file nominating petitions. It’s also the day Jeff Chiesa is sworn in to serve until October’s general election.

The filing deadline is 4 p.m. Chiesa’s swearing-in is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

So far, Democrats Cory Booker, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone (as of 1:30 p.m.) have announced their entry into the race. Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver is rumored to be running, though she hasn’t formally announced just yet.

Republican Steve Lonegan is the lone announced Republican.

Despite a strong field of big names, a Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Booker is the clear front-runner among the Democrats. The poll, which included 858 self-described Democrats, found 53 percent support Booker, 10 percent support Holt, and 9 percent back Pallone. Oliver wasn’t included in the poll, since the poll was conducted before her intentions were known.

NJBIZ is compiling a primer on the candidates’ backgrounds on business and economic development. Visit our homepage after the 4 p.m. nomination deadline. I’ll also update this post with a link.

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