(CNN) – Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker on Saturday declared his candidacy for the Senate in this year's special election to fill the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Booker's campaign sent out an email release the day before stating that the mayor would make an announcement regarding his candidacy at the event in Newark, followed by a similar event a few hours later in the southern part of the Garden State.
At Saturday's news conference, Booker cited a track record of compromise as Mayor of Newark as an example of how he can help change gridlock in Washington.
"I am here because I believe that people who care, can find solutions to even the most difficult problems. I am here because when we work together, I know from experience that there is no problem we can't solve," Booker said.
Lautenberg died Monday at age 89 and was buried on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery. On Tuesday New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to hold a special Senate election this year, with the Democratic and Republican primaries on August 13 and the general election on October 16. The winner would serve the final 14 1/2 months of Lautenberg's term. An election to a full six-year term will be in November 2014.
CNN reported Thursday that Booker had begun collecting signatures to run in the special election. Candidates hoping to run in the race must hand in 1,000 signatures by 4 p.m. ET on Monday.
Booker, considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, earlier this year announced he was exploring a run for Senate in 2014. He made the news before Lautenberg announced he would not run for re-election.
Booker will become the second Democrat to formally jump into the race. Rep. Rush Holt, who's in his eight term representing New Jersey's 12th Congressional District, said in a statement that on Thursday that, "I ask for your support as I seek to serve as your Senator in that seat. The reason is simple: I believe I am the best candidate to continue the passionate advocacy for progressive values that Sen. Lautenberg exemplified."
Rep. Frank Pallone, who's also considered likely to make a bid, has not made any announcements. A Democratic source with knowledge of Pallone's thinking told CNN "an announcement will be forthcoming" but added that it would come after the late senator's funeral process is over, "out of respect to Lautenberg, who was a close friend to the congressman."
Pallone has the biggest war chest of the three Democrats, with approximately $3 million cash on hand. Booker, who is seen as the favorite in the Democratic nomination battle and who has the potential to raise a large sum of money thanks to his star power and national connections, currently has a smaller war chest than Pallone, with Holt having around $700,000 in the bank.
On the GOP side, former Bogota, New Jersey, Mayor Steve Lonegan says he'll run. Other possible candidates include Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Rep. Jon Runyan, and biotech executive John Crowley. State senators Joe Kyrillos and Tom Kean Jr., who have both run for the Senate in the past, seem to be leaning against making another bid this time around. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnic has said he won't run.
Christie on Thursday appointed state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, a fellow Republican, to serve as interim senator until the October election but Chiesa said he won't run.
As for Booker, he challenged critics Saturday who say Washington can't be fixed, a sure campaign theme of his going forward.
"We in New Jersey know a thing or two about toughness, about resiliency and strength. I know this and I've seen it over and over at every point in my career as an elected official. I know the truth of who we are when we are together and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, especially here in New Jersey, that there is nothing we can't do together," Booker said.
-CNN's Greg Clary contributed to this report
Good decision Cory. If I would happen to live in New Jersey, I would certainly vote for you. This man certainly has what it takes to be a Senator. I also hope and think that he will run for President in 2016 or at least be Hillary's VP candidate.
this is a man who is honest, caring, flexible and very human. i guess we will see what nj thinks soon enough. it would be refreshing to have a new face that isn't rigid and doesn't think compromise is a dirty word--
He is doing a great job in Newark and would be welcome in the Senate by other Dems. The GOP doesn't like anyone so we can expect the to continue to take a salary for doing NOTHING!
Re Surveillance – Just learnt All Public Records Online, and we shall give Account ..of words.".in the Day of Judgment...
by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12: 36-37) so just
as well the surveillance starts from now (smile)
Democrat's Reagan? We shall see.
I am a big fan of Cory Booker. He will be a great senator of New Jersey. He does not take any crap from anybody. He is the new generation candidate. Let's all vote for him. Please not another Italian.
They carry one Democrat Socialist out and another takes his place.
Geez...I hope the folks NJ don`t get duped by this puppet. This guy is just another one of a G. Soros`s pawns.
I live in NJ and you've got my vote Mr. Booker.
He is a really cool guy. He would do a great job.
Sure, why not, he's done such a wonderful job keeping crime ridden welfare city Newark NJ a crime ridden welfare city. Give the guy a nobel peace prize to boot.
He has my vote. He actually seems to care and he's certainly proven he's more than willing to work hard.
I hope he is selected.
Good luck. you have shownthatyou have the smarts and you care.
Go, Cory! We need you in Washington.....let's dump every Republican in 2014!
My vote and money go to him. And my thanks for striking so much fear in the Republican camp.
So he's quitting as Mayor of Newark, leaving the city in further shambles than when he began, to run for higher office.
Sounds like failing upward to me!"
Kinda like John McCain (at least until he decided on Sarah. That was just a fail, period)
you rock Cory, wish I could vote 4 you, but i don't live in your state. Everything i've heard about is awsome, from shoveling snow,too getting someone out of a house fire, you have a big heart, and a kind soul, GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!
Why bother to even have an election. Booker is black and a democrat. he's a shoo in.
Is this a joke? Newark is one of the most poorly run cities on earth.
He appears to be a good man
Cory Booker is a rare breed in politics. I live in MA but am familiar with his policies, style, intelligence and most of all compassion for all creatures. He does not turn a back on suffering. I hope NJ makes this happen. The world needs more people like Mr. Booker.
The man could become the second African -American President we elect.
I live in NJ and he'll get my vote.
I live in NJ, does that mean I have to vote for him in August, then in October, then in November? Gee, thanks, Chris Christie!