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Republicans switch N.J. Senate candidates

April 11, 2008 at 5:23 PM

TRENTON, N.J., April 11 (UPI) -- A nightclub owner who lives in New York dropped out of the New Jersey Senate race Friday, replaced by a former congressman turned Washington lobbyist.

Andy Unanue, a member of the family that founded Goya Foods, cited his business commitments as a reason for abandoning the Republican primary, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. During his brief period as a candidate, he had attracted flak for a drunk driving conviction and refusing to cut short a Colorado vacation to campaign.

Dick Zimmer is now the Republican establishment candidate in the primary. He served three terms in Congress before losing the 1996 U.S. Senate race to Robert Torricelli.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg is running for re-election. But his age -- he would be 90 at the end of another term -- has made him vulnerable.

Rep. Robert Andrews and Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello have challenged Lautenberg in the Democratic primary. On the Republican side, the other candidates are Murray Sabrin, an economics professor who has previously run as a Libertarian, and state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio.

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