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Booker absence at Senate debate draws criticism

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is leading the polls in the Senate Democratic primary race in New Jersey and is drawing some criticism from his opponents for his decision not to attend some campaign events.

Booker didn't attend the first Democratic debate in Trenton Saturday night. This comes two days after he didn't attend a candidates' forum in Somerset County.

Opponents Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver all mentioned Booker's absence on Saturday. The candidates also discussed issues such as jobs, entitlement reform, gun control and financial reform.

Booker's campaign released a statement saying he agreed to two debates, which is the same number as in the last Democratic Senate primary in 2008.

Currently, Booker maintains a 40-point lead in the latest Quinnipiac University poll in the race to fill late Senator Frank Lautenberg's seat in the Senate.

The next schedule debate is for August 5, eight days before the primary.

The general election will take place on October 16.

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