Former prosecutor Stuart Meissner has announced that he will run for the United States Senate in 2020, becoming the fourth Republican to enter the race to take on incumbent Cory Booker.
Meissner formed an exploratory committee on August 22 and has spent the last month criticizing Booker on multiple issues, especially the Newark water crisis and Booker’s absence from New Jersey while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Meissner worked for the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General under Eliot Spitzer before starting his own law firm that concentrates on Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblowers who file lawsuits against Wall Street banks and large corporations.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Meissner became part of the “bucket brigade that helped clear debris from Ground Zero. As a result of his volunteer efforts, he became a cancer survivor.
“After speaking to voters and activists around the state over the past few weeks, I have been struck by the overwhelming desire to replace New Jersey’s celebrity Senator with someone who is willing to actually work for the people of this state – not just chase votes in Iowa,” Meissner said. “It’s for this reason, along with continuing a lifelong passion for fighting for the middle-class, that I will present New Jersey voters with a real alternative to Cory Booker.”
Under a new state law passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature last year, Booker can run for President or Vice President while simultaneously seeking re-election to his Senate seat.
A Monmouth University poll released last week showed that nearly half of the state’s Democrats (48%) think Booker should drop his U.S. Senate re-election bid if he gets a spot on the national ticket.
Booker is in 4th place in New Jersey with just 9% among Democrats, the Monmouth Poll reported, with Joe Biden leading Elizabeth Warren 26%-20% and Bernie Sanders in 3rd with 18%.
“New Jerseyans deserve a Senator who not only has their best interests at heart, but also one who can work with the Senate Majority to bring infrastructure dollars and property tax relief back to the state,” Meissner said.
A Tenafly lawyer specializing in whistleblower cases, Meissner is the son of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany on the day after Kristallnacht.
His campaign biography says he “has been unafraid to stand up to Wall Street giants in pursuit of making defrauded investors whole and ensuring that employees were fairly compensated and treated without discrimination.”
Once a Democrat, Meissner became involved in GOP politics in 2016 as a volunteer on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Meissner faces Tricia Flanagan, Hirsh Singh and Natalie Lynn Rivera in the GOP primary.
All four have run statewide before.
Flanagan, and Rivera ran as independents for the U.S. Senate in the 2018 U.S. Senate race between Democrat Bob Menendez and Republican Bob Hugin. Flanagan won 0.15% of the vote, and Rivera won (0.63%).
In the 2013 special election for Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat, Meissner won 2,051 votes statewide against Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan (0.15%). He finished 738,691 votes behind Booker.
Singh finished third in the 2017 Republican gubernatorial primary. He received 23,728 votes (9.76%) and lost to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno by 90,118 votes. He lost a Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 in New Jersey’s 2nd district.