Off to the races: Booker beats Lonegan

Dallas Morning News: “It might be time for Ted Cruz to get a dog. Because as the saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, that’s what you do. And by the time Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare finally crashed to a halt Wednesday, the Texas senator had precious few friends left. The government shutdown alienated colleagues in both parties. It generated fresh animosity toward the tea party and a flurry of recriminations toward Cruz. Voter support for the Republican Party plunged. And the health care law survived unscathed.”

KENTUCKY:Lexington Herald-Leader: “Statesman, traitor, tap-dancer — Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was tagged with a number of labels Wednesday as his high-profile role in negotiations with Democrats presented a large target for opponents, even as the resulting deal appeared to end the government shutdown and avoid debt default. After reaching what looked like an agreement to end the Washington stalemate with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, McConnell was pelted from both sides of the political spectrum as challengers and critics sought to deny the senator a chance to portray himself as a savior and a leader in the midst of crippling dysfunction.”

MSNBC’s Suzy Khimm: “Tucked into the Senate bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling is a little something else: $2.9 billion in funding for a dam project on the Kentucky-Illinois border, which” McConnell “has requested money for in the past. The law funds the Olmsted dam and lock project with $2.918 billion, according to the bill text. Started more than 20 years ago, the project is woefully behind schedule and over budget.”

MISSISSIPPI: State Sen. Chris McDaniel is expected to announce this afternoon that he’ll primary GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, who voted in favor of the budget deal. AP: “McDaniel said Tuesday that he's leaning toward challenging” Cochran. “McDaniel told The Associated Press that he was still undecided as of Tuesday evening. He said he will go to his Ellisville home Wednesday, sit in his arbor and pray about it. ‘Right now, we're leaning toward running for U.S. Senate.’”

NEW JERSEY: Cory Booker will be a new United States Senate. He defeated Republican Steve Lonegan last night in a special election 55%-44%.

NBC’s Jessica Taylor: “Newark Mayor Cory Booker will soon be headed to Washington as the next New Jersey senator. The Democratic nominee easily bested Republican Steve Lonegan in Wednesday’s special election to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg... The famous mayor, who has touted his ability to bring people together while growing his own social media presence and popularity, will head to a polarized Washington where he’s certain to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and another outsized presence in D.C.”

The Star Ledger asks what kind of senator will Booker be. He wants to get large items done, but “While the center-left Booker outlined ideas on the campaign trail such as government-funded college funds for poor kids, renewal of the assault weapons ban and instituting comprehensive climate-change legislation, he’ll likely find progress slow-going in the Senate, which puts more value on seniority and procedure than personal magnetism. Not to mention that Booker, who will now serve the remaining 15 months of the late U.S.Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term, will have to start running for his 2014 re-election virtually the day he’s sworn in.”

As for turnout: 1,306,608 turned out to vote of the 5,505,212 total registered voters. That equals 23.7% turnout.

Chris Christie (R) leads Barbara Buono (D) in the race for governor 62-33%, according to Quinnipiac.

NORTH CAROLINA: Roll Call: “Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an endorsement on Wednesday to a tea party activist running for the GOP Senate nomination in North Carolina — a top pickup opportunity for Republicans. Physician Greg Brannon, one of several Republicans vying to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, touted the endorsement from the conservative senator and potential presidential contender as a momentum boost for the campaign. The campaign’s announcement referred to Brannon as ‘an anti-establishment candidate … who will oppose the Big Government, big spending status quo in both parties.’”

VIRGINIA: Richmond Times Dispatch: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe reported adjusted gross income of $9.4 million last year, according to a 2012 tax summary released by his campaign Wednesday evening. The McLean businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman also claimed about $1 million in itemized deductions on the income and paid $2.74 million in taxes, according to the two-page Form 1040 provided by the campaign.”

Washington Post: McAuliffe “s launching a new ad focused on provocative comments about abortion made by Ken Cuccinelli II, the latest effort by the Democratic candidate to paint his Republican foe as an extremist on social issues….McAuliffe’s latest effort seizes on comments made by Cuccinelli in a speech to the Cherish Life Ministries Christian Life Summit in Ashburn in 2012. The ad features a clip of Cuccinelli discussing the potential consequences for the United States of its abortion policies.”