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The Dripby Mark Reutter12:00 pmSep 29, 20130

Rawlings-Blake in New Jersey, stumping for fellow mayor

Cory Booker’s “easy ride” to Senate seat is in jeopardy.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will campaign today for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, whose cakewalk campaign to win a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey is facing unexpected headwinds following a crime spree in Newark and criticism of his private business dealings.

Baltimore’s mayor is set to headline a Booker rally in Atlantic City at the Allen AME Church starting at 2:30 p.m. The rally was in campaign twitter feeds yesterday. Rawlings-Blake spokesman Kevin R. Harris confirmed her appearance today.

Since her appointment earlier this year as secretary of the Democratic National Committee, Rawlings-Blake has embarked on out-of-state speaking trips on behalf of the party and its affiliates. She was a keynote speaker at the Young Democrats of America convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Like Rawlings-Blake, Booker is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. His campaign for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat in a special election next month was considered a sure win.

In the last month, however, Newark has experienced a crime wave, with nine people killed in as many days, and Booker has been dogged by reports of undisclosed payouts from his former law firm while he was mayor and his co-investment with Google’s Eric Schmidt in a Silicon Valley upstart start-up.

Absentee Mayor

Republican challenger Steve Lonegan has cut Booker’s lead by 13 points, according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll of likely New Jersey voters, largely by hammering away at the perception of Booker as an absentee mayor.

“Newark needs leadership, not a mayor who is looking to be promoted to the U.S. Senate for his failed policies,” says Lonegan, who is backed by New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, but is still considered the underdog.

In a twitter feed announcing her appearance today, Rawlings-Blake is lauded for her role as second vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a source of her trips to Las Vegas and Park City, Utah, this summer. During an earlier trip to Las Vegas, the mayor officiated at the wedding of Baltimore City Hall’s two top lobbyists, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone.

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