Newark mayor Cory Booker has won a special election to represent New Jersey in the Senate, giving the rising Democratic star a bigger political stage after a race against conservative Steve Lonegan, a former small-town mayor. Booker, 44, will become the first black senator from New Jersey. A vegetarian with a Twitter following of 1.4 million—or five times the population of the city he governs—he heads to Washington with an unusual political resume.
With dwindling state funding, he has used private fundraising to run programs in Newark, a strategy that has brought his city resources and him both fame and criticism. Booker was elected to complete the 15 months remaining on the term of Frank Lautenberg, whose death in June at age 89 gave rise to an unusual and abbreviated campaign. If he wants to keep the seat for a full six-year term—and all indications are that he does—Booker will be on the ballot again in November 2014.