A new Republican challenger to Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) in New Jersey criticized the former Newark mayor for focusing on his presidential campaign at the cost of his own constituents.
Rik Mehta's Senate campaign announcement video accuses Booker of "showboating around Iowa" and pretending to be concerned about his own state as he runs for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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"In a few weeks, when Cory Booker is done showboating around Iowa and drops out of the presidential race, he'll run back to New Jersey to pretend he cares about all of us he left behind," Mehta said.
"One third of New Jersey's population are immigrants and minorities like myself. Yet politicians like Cory Booker and [New Jersey senator] Bob Menendez built their careers off the backs of our proud immigrants all while encouraging illegal immigration," he continued.
Mehta blasted Booker for focusing on his presidential run instead of devoting his attention to issues affecting New Jersey, specifically referring to an ongoing water crisis in Newark.
"Where's Spartacus now?" Mehta asked, referring to Booker's "Spartacus moment" during Brett Kavanaugh's initial round of confirmation hearings.
Mehta, a political newcomer with a background working for the Food and Drug Administration and in pharmaceutical sales, told NJ.com he believes his political inexperience can be an advantage.
Mehta also praised President Donald Trump, saying the president has "done an incredible job at staying true to his campaign promises."
Booker has faced criticism for being inattentive to water issues during his time as mayor of Newark. A Columbia economist who studied the city's water commission said Booker "left a mess" that helped contribute to the city's current crisis.
The New Jersey senator is currently polling in the low single digits in the Democratic presidential primary. He recently made a successful fundraising plea that has kept him in the presidential race for the near future.
Mehta will face off against at least two other Republican candidates vying for the chance to run against Booker in the 2020 Senate race.