(CNN) – Democratic Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, who announced intentions to explore a U.S. Senate bid in 2014, said he hasn't yet spoken with Sen. Frank Lautenberg about whether the longtime Democratic senator plans to run for re-election next year.
Asked if Booker plans to challenge the senator from New Jersey in a primary, Booker argued it was too early to discuss the election.
"I'm a guy who has deep respect and love for (Lautenberg)," Booker said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" "This is a lion of our Senate. I'm going to give him that space. This is not the election year–not the year we should be talking about hypotheticals."
Booker said he has tried to speak with Lautenberg, who turns 89 this month, but has yet to have a conversation with the senator.
"I hope to talk to him–we've reached out to him a number of times. In fact, I had a plane trip going down to meet with him and unfortunately, with a lot of the challenges going down in Washington, he had to cancel the meeting."
Booker announced in December that he decided not to challenge Republican Gov. Chris Christie in this year's gubernatorial election. Weighing in on his decision Monday, Booker said 2013 was shaping up to be his "most productive year as mayor" with a billion dollars in new development and other plans to expand city resources.
"If I left the helm now or if I got into a tough fight with Chris Christie, it would all come to a screeching halt," he said. "I swore an oath to do my job and I'd hate to leave early to go after another job."
Christie has seen soaring approval ratings in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which left the New Jersey shoreline severely damaged in late October. With Booker out of the running for governor, Christie is expected to fare well in his bid for re-election.