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Cory Booker Getting In New Jersey Senate Race, Campaign Staffer Says.
NEWARK, N.J. -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has used his social-media and political savvy to gain national prominence, is in the race to finish the U.S. Senate term of Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday.
Booker, a Democrat, planned to hold a conference call with top supporters Friday and announce his entry into the race Saturday, a campaign staff member said Friday. The staffer was not authorized to speak publicly on the plans ahead of the official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Booker was expected to run and begins the race as a front-runner.
The only other Democrat who has announced plans to run is U.S. Rep. Rush Holt. But a second congressman, Frank Pallone, who had $3.7 million in his campaign coffers at the end of March and has deep union support, could also enter by Monday's deadline.
Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, announced this week that there would be party primaries Aug. 13 and a special general election Oct. 16, less than three weeks before the general election that features Christie's re-election bid.
Christie says he made the election schedule to allow voters to choose their representation as soon legally possible, but some critics believe he also does not want to be on the same ballot as Booker, even if the two are running for different offices. The two are by far the most notable politicians in the state and have significant national profiles.
Christie has appointed state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to serve in the Senate until after the October special election. Chiesa told Christie he wouldn't run in the election.
The only Republican running so far is Steve Lonegan, a former Bogota mayor who runs the New Jersey office of Americans for Prosperity.
Booker, 44, is an unconventional politician with a penchant for tweaking the establishment and unconventional following.
He has 1.4 million followers on Twitter – or five for every resident of the city where he's the mayor. He tweets frequently, answering questions about city services, posting about his workouts and, perhaps most often, trying to provide inspiration. For instance, late Thursday night, he sent this message: "We were born original without limitation, live your truth don't die an imitation."
He's always been good at getting attention, including a 10-day hunger strike years ago to protest open-air drug dealing and, last year, living on a food-stamp budget for a week.
In 2012, he rescued a neighbor from a burning home.
Booker has a running start in the race because he got in it early, even before Lautenberg announced in February that he would not seek re-election in 2014. As of March 31, Booker had raised $1.9 million.
Some Democrats were pushing Booker to run for governor this year because they saw him as the Democrat with the best chance of unseating Christie, the popular Republican incumbent. Booker demurred, but announced last December – via a Facebook post, of course – that he was exploring a Senate run in 2014.
"Let there be no doubt," he said in the post, "I will complete my full second term as mayor." That term expires in June 2014, so if he wins the Senate seat, he would not complete it.
Booker, who grew up in suburban Harrington Park as the son of civil rights activists who were among the first black executives at IBM, went to Stanford, was a Rhodes Scholar, earned a law degree from Yale and took a job with the Urban Justice Center, which provides legal and other services to the vulnerable. He also moved to a public housing complex in Newark.
Booker's early days in politics pitted him against a lion of New Jersey politics. He was elected to the city council soon after moving to Newark and in 2002, he ran for mayor against the city's longtime leader, Sharpe James. He lost, but made a splash, and the campaign was documented in the film "Street Fight."
Four years later, he was elected mayor of the state's largest city. Under his watch, the city budget has been more stable and downtown redevelopment has picked up steam.
Booker is a liberal on most social issues – a supporter of allowing gay marriage, for instance.
But he's also in favor of expanded educational choices for families in cities, including using public money to send children to private schools. That's a cause that unites some urban liberals with conservatives and infuriates teachers unions and, often, school district officials who believe the policy would take money from public schools that need it badly. New Jersey does not have scholarship program that does that, though Christie is pushing to start one.
Booker's critics in Newark see him as an ambitious interloper who spends too much of his time outside the city.
According to a Senate campaign filing made in May, Booker has brought in $1.3 million for 90 speeches he has given around the country since 2008. His campaign says he has donated the majority of that money to charities that serve Newark.
A Star-Ledger analysis last year of Booker's social media postings found that from the start of 2011 until the middle of 2012, he was out of New Jersey or the New York City area at least 119 days.
Booker's campaign has said that the networking he does ultimately helps the city.
In 2010, he was seated next to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at a dinner during a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Two months later, Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to improve education in Newark.
- I thought Christie set up the special election so Booker couldn't get in? Glad it backfired on them, but what happened?
- Some of the 119 days Cory spent outta town were with his boyfriend or white girlfriend. Whichever rumor you want to believe.
- Well this is DL. So I'm thinking boyfriend.
- Will he make his white lover stay hidden in their Manhattan pied a terre during the campaign them come out AFTER he wins?
- R1 - Christie set up the special election knowing Booker would run for senate. He wanted the special election so Booker wouldn't be on the ballot when Christie was running for governor.
Speculation is Christie was concerned Booker on the ticket would bring out Black and Hispanic voters. Voting populations Republicans traditionally like to keep minimum.
- R5 = the oracle of delphi
- Thanks R5. Makes sense now.
- Why doesn't Cory just come out?!
- R4 is thinking exactly what I'm thinking. It's a white guy ( not that it matters). Cory seems so gay.
- Cory has about as much chance of winning as Anthony Wiener.
- Of course he's a snow queen.
- I'd take his load, and give him mine..
- Is he for reparations?
- Cory should come out, he's not fooling anyone.
- We will vote for Cory. We love his eyes.
- r5 got that from Rachel Maddow. It was she who speculated as such on the day that Christie announced the special election.
New Jersey is in a deep deficit and this unnecessary spending of $12 million dollars is very fiscally irresponsible.
- and Rachel repeated it again on tonight's show.
- But if gay, why not beard up with a lesbian? That would help his career and Booker is intensely ambitious.
If, on the other hand, he had a hidden white WOMAN, then I can see why he couldn't beard--she wouldn't but up with it.
- [quote]R5 got that from Rachel Maddow. It was she who speculated as such on the day that Christie announced the special election.
I got it from NPR the day before Christie announced the special election. They said, in advance, that he would work things out to keep Booker from being on the same ballot.
- oh, please. Anyone who has been live this week had it about 4 days ago. NEXT
- Okay. I guess great minds think alike r19.
- DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW BIG HIS COCK IS?
- We have Obama to thank for giving people the impression that Christie is above partisanship. Wonder if he'll endorse Christie for 2016.
Isn't this the same Christie who used the state helicopter to fly him to his son's baseball game? Yeah. He's a real fiscal conservative.
- Gayle King bears for him at Metro New York events.
- And for those who do not know this, if you are black and get accepted at a top university like Stanford you are guaranteed to graduate. You are provided a tutor the whole four years whether you need it or not. It used to be called "seat passing" but these schools need grads of color. Harvard black males grads tend to come from out of the USA. It doesn't mean Cory knows anything; it just means he went to class.
- r25=Chris Christie
- Thanks for your input, racist cynic at R25, but plenty of people (black people too! imagine!) go to a top university because they want to learn.
- I agree. What I posted was covered by a lot of pundits and news reports.
For the record - I don't watch Rachel Maddow. I have no idea what she said on the subject. As a rule I prefer to get my analysis from non-partisan voices.
I think the special election is a waste of money.
- RE 28 Non partisan voices like Fox News ? Fair and Balanced. Hahahahahha.
- Re Cory - I bet it's huge. I say he swings both ways . Literally, & figuratively.
- The special election for Senator in NJ is so that when Booker runs he won't bring more Democrats to the polls. Christie is not worried about winning the governorship , he'll win that handily. He's more worried about the New Jersey State Legislature losing Republican seats.
I know someone who works for the Newark government and doesn't see very much in Booker. he's an empty suit in his opinion. all style no substance.Booker really hasn't improved Newark by leaps and bounds to be honest. He's tried but it is almost impossible to do anything singlehandedly in a place like Newark.
Isn't his partner a she? I had heard that she is a white woman from hipster Brooklyn.It would be more fun if he had a guy and came out before the election...though that seems unlikely at this point.
- r27 read what I wrote again. I did not say blacks did not want to learn. I said that a black male gets a tutor because the better universities have a stake in wanting them to graduate so each black male student is assigned a tutor to ensure they graduate. Doesn't mean they learn shit but that they do go to class. And the result is Cory Booker, an empty suit.
- What about female black students? Do they get tutors?
- The black female students have not shown a need for a tutor.
- [quote]The black female students have not shown a need for a tutor.
And what about the transgendered black students, are they being given tutors???
- Can't stand Cory Booker. He was dogging Frank Lautenberg over that seat before he was even sick. He's a slimy asshole.
- [r10] Perhaps on your planet
- Cory wants out of Newark. He's done nothing about crime, the basketball team left town, downtown business district is scrungy.
- He's another empty suit, Obama Part II.
I want as many women and POCs in government as possible but they also have to be about something more than just obtaining that position. Cory is a great PR strategist and politician but he is not a good leader or government administrator.
- Sheila Oliver (D) is also running for the job Cory wants.
- Vote for Rush Holt NJ- the only progressive in the race. Booker is pro fracking & privitazation. Also best friends with racist Rabbi Shmuley
- R25, provide a link to back up your claims please.
- RUSH HOLT FOR SENATE