Cory Booker, the charismatic mayor of Newark, is now a member of the U.S. Senate from New Jersey after winning a special election on Wednesday.
The Democrat, heavily favored in polls, defeated conservative Republican Steve Lonegan. Booker had an 11-point lead with the vote 90 percent counted.
Booker, 44, spoke to supporters in Newark and thanked them for turning out to vote against the backdrop of the 16-day government shutdown.
"You didn't just vote, you believed that your vote and choice mattered," he said. "It would have been easy to listen to this frustrating negativity and stay home."
"But here in New Jersey, more than a million people rejected cynicism and came out on a Wednesday, in the middle of October, to fight the cynicism."