June 8th, 2013
12:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Cory Booker announces Senate candidacy Saturday

(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

Filed under: Cory Booker • New Jersey
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Skarphace

    Oooh .. Booker vs Christie 2016. Now that would be interesting.

    June 8, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. John

    So being mayor of one of the most disgusting cities in the USA qualifies you to be a Senator?

    June 8, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. Chris

    Corey Booker endorsed the corrupt Mayor Healy in Jersey City and did not object to Christie wasting $12 million on a special election because it benefits Booker too. Booker is better than the average politician, but he is far from a saint.

    June 9, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  4. Blue

    I hope you win.

    June 9, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  5. U.S. Citizen

    I liked Cory Booker in the beginning.
    But it seems he's become a lapdog for the faction that the President answers to.

    June 9, 2013 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. Lizard Lance

    Why is it that just by the nature of someone electing to run for public office we automatically figure he/she is a dirtbag? Does that say more about politics, or about the people who are prone to running? Cory Booker seems like a decent man, but the fact he's running at all makes me thing he will be revealed to be a lowlife just like all the other senators.

    June 9, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  7. tedz

    he has to coz people in newark hate him. he abused his power in over turing a nominated councillor, coz that person was son of former mayor who lost to him in the previous election. he created hispanic vs black environment. non of the year that he has been mayor had newark balanced its budget. gov christie has been helping him, in terms of getting newark's payroll, and improving its educational system.

    i don't hate him. he is a good guy, a brave guy, and perhaps will do a good job in senate, but he is no great leader, like gov christie.

    June 9, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  8. Matt

    Booker for Prez 2018!

    June 9, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  9. Andrew - Scranton, PA

    I had the privilege to meet Mayor Booker in Scranton during the campaign season late last year. He is a man of great character and his actions prove thus. He has a promising future and I wish him the best of luck.

    June 9, 2013 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  10. Fsjunkie

    I think Booker is genuinely a good guy...very smart. It sounds like he's incredibly naive though. If he goes on to getting the Senate seat, and if it is to turn out good for him, he will have to morph into a politician just like all of the rest of the useless bodies in Congress. He's joining a gang, and he will get "jumped in" sooner or later.

    June 9, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  11. MollyBee

    Cory Booker, one of the GOP/Tea Partys' worst nightmares.

    June 9, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  12. liberal disease

    I remember when Obama shut him up after he defended Romney on private capital. Would of told Barry to shove it but Booker played nice party lib and folded to Barry's heavy hand..He is just another partisan hack politico, how about getting successful business people to take these seats instead of more of the same!

    June 9, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  13. Chris

    Some stats about Newark under the control of Mayor Booker: 51st Most Dangerous City in America, 8th highest unemployment rate in NJ, one of the worst performing school districts in NJ (despite being an Abbot District), 31% of residents below the poverty line (state avg. 12.%%). Lets hope Mr. Booker brings that formula for success to the US Senate.

    June 9, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. Roger Smith

    Chief of Journalists Union: Syria Believes in Resistance as Strategic Choice

    Later, Chairman of the Journalists Union, Elias Murad, held a meeting with the Egyptian delegation during when he stressed that Syria "is paying the price for its defense of just Arab causes and the resistance."

    He highlighted the great role media can play in reviving the nationalist awareness and focusing on the main and crucial causes of the Arabs and Zionist schemes targeting the Arab nation.

    Murad affirmed that Syria believes in the culture of resistance and the necessity of supporting it on all levels "as a strategic choice to secure the dignity of the Arab nation and restore its usurped rights."

    He referred to the continued attempts of killing and abduction that are targeting the journalists in Syria at the hands of the armed terrorist groups in revenge for their role in exposing the terrorists' crimes against the citizens.

    In this context, Murad reiterated condemnation of the Arab League's decision to halt the broadcast of the Syrian TV channels on satellite, saying this decision came because the Syrian channels worked on revealing the truth about the conspiracy targeting Syria that is led by Arabic-speaking channels that are known for their allegiance to the West.

    Member of the visiting delegation, deputy editor-in-chief of the Egyptian al-Jumhouria newspaper, Amin al-Rifaei, underscored that the visit came to closely inspect the reality of the situation on the ground in Syria and to convey an honest image what is taking place in it to the Egyptian public opinion.

    Al-Rifaei affirmed that life is normal in Damascus contrary to what tools of the Western media promote, referring particularly to the Qatar-based al-Jazeera channel.

    Delegation members went on to condemn the stances of the Arab League as a violation of its Charter, saying that the League has turned into a puppet in the hands of corrupt Western organizations that seeks to subdue the Arab nation and control its resources.

    The mutual statement affirmed that Syria will come out of its crisis stronger thanks to the awareness of the Syrian people who realize the reality of the conspiracy being hatched against their homeland..

    June 9, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  15. drumbeg

    Ana excellent choice. after all, Newark is such a vibrant, vital economic powerhouse now, isn't it? Newark is a toilet and about ten minutes behind Detroit. If the people of NJ are such dim bulbs as to elect another liberal democrat, they deserve what they get

    June 9, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  16. Mo

    The world would sure be a better place if their were more Cory Booker's in the world.

    June 9, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  17. DENNA

    Kudos to Mayor Booker AND Gov. Christie, who decided to have a special election instead of appointing another GOP hack to the job. Good for them both. Take that GOP nasties!

    June 9, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. philip

    Politicians who run for another office while still in one betray their trust. The people elect them to do a job, not pursue career objectives while work goes un done.

    June 9, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. Thomas


    So being mayor of one of the most disgusting cities in the USA qualifies you to be a Senator?"

    No, being elected by the citizens of that state qualifies him to be a Senator. Perhaps we should leave it up to the citizens that he will be representing to determine whether he is qualified to be their Senator.

    June 9, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. MaryM

    Get over yourself all you GOP haters. Mayor Booker has a right to run for Senator of NJ if he wants. And you know what, he will win. And you will see Mayor Booker running for POTUS in 2018.

    June 9, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. ed

    If you are a Democrat (Obama lover) then the only solution you are interested in is absolute control !!

    June 9, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. JJ

    Smart guy; Good luck Sir!

    June 9, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Peter

    I've seen more than 5 posts about somebody running for president in 2018...if that's what you think, please don't ever vote again.

    June 9, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. dave

    Booker would be the norm as a Democrat US Senator, a complete disaster for the country.

    June 9, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  25. boungiorno

    knowledge is power

    June 10, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
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