TRENTON, N.J. – Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the chamber’s third-oldest member at 84, easily won nomination for a new term Tuesday over a challenger who sought to make an issue of his age.
Lautenberg defeated Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews as voters in seven states picked congressional candidates for the fall, and residents of one South Dakota county voted to allow construction of the nation’s first new oil refinery in more than 30 years.
Andrews, a 50-year-old lawmaker who has served in the House since 1990, repeatedly reminded voters that Lautenberg would be nearly 91 by the end of a fifth term.
But with 95 percent of precincts reporting, Lautenberg had 61 percent of the vote, compared with 34 percent for Andrews. A third Democrat, Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello, got 6 percent.
Lautenberg will compete in November against former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, who prevailed over a state senator and a college business professor in a three-way GOP primary.
In other races across the nation:
•In South Dakota, residents of Union County, S.D., voted 58 percent to 42 percent to endorse their county commission’s rezoning of almost 3,300 acres for an oil refinery proposed by a Texas-based company called Hyperion Resources, which promoted the $10 billion facility as a step toward energy independence.
•In Iowa, six-term congressman Leonard Boswell put down a challenge from a more liberal opponent, largely by drawing attention to Ed Fallon’s support for Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential race. Fallon conceded the endorsement was probably his “worst political decision” but said he had repeatedly apologized for backing Nader.
•In New Mexico, Republican Reps. Steven Pearce and Heather Wilson were locked in a close race for the GOP nomination to replace Sen. Pete Domenici, who is retiring because of a degenerative brain disease. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Pearce led 51 percent to 48 percent. Democratic Rep. Tom Udall was unopposed in his primary for the seat.