Lautenberg Picks Up Newspaper Endorsements

Frank Lautenberg's Senate bid picked up endorsements from The New York Times and The Press of Atlantic City, which both cited his experience and record of protecting New Jersey's interests.

The papers said in editorials published Wednesday that both Lautenberg and Douglas Forrester, his Republican opponent, were credible candidates, but concluded that the Democrat had more to offer voters.

The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Philadelphia Inquirer also have endorsed Lautenberg. The Asbury Park Press endorsed Forrester, calling the Republican a protector of Social Security.

The Press of Atlantic City said its endorsement came with reservations. It criticized Lautenberg for dodging debates and said he has run "a dismal campaign,'' but it noted that during his three terms in the Senate he played a key role in the Superfund toxic waste law and other environmental issues.

The Times said Forrester, a multimillionaire businessman, was an engaging and intelligent candidate but that his public record paled in comparison to Lautenberg's.

Both papers said the departure of Sen. Robert Torricelli, whom Lautenberg replaced on the ballot, gave voters a chance to focus on issues instead of personality. Torricelli dropped out of the race Sept. 30 because of lingering ethics questions.

A CBS-New York Times poll last week showed Lautenberg with 48 percent to 36 percent for Forrester, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.