Texas Gov. Rick Perry campaigns for Senate candidate Steve Loneg - KMSP-TV

Texas Gov. Rick Perry campaigns for Senate candidate Steve Lonegan

Cory Booker (left) and Steve Lonegan (AP photos) Cory Booker (left) and Steve Lonegan (AP photos)

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- Republican candidate Steve Lonegan said the Oct. 16 special Senate election will be a referendum on health care.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined Lonegan on the campaign trail Tuesday, the day after the federal government partially shut down over a partisan fight over funding for a new health care law.

Lonegan applauded House Republicans for "holding the line" in Washington. But his opponent, Democrat Cory Booker, circulated a petition Tuesday urging Congress to end the shutdown by funding Obamacare.

Booker said the health care overhaul expands health insurance access to millions of Americans. Lonegan said the law is a government intrusion.

Perry also planned to participate in a Lonegan rally in Hasbrouck Heights.

Lonegan is running against Booker to serve the remaining term of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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