Booker shifting focus to Senate?

posted at 1:01 pm on December 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

A little over a week ago, Cory Booker told CBS’ Face the Nation that he was considering a run against Chris Christie in next year’s New Jersey gubernatorial election, while offering a few qualifications on commitment to it.  “I’ve got to… be a part of my party’s push forward,” Booker told Bob Schieffer, “whether it’s me as a candidate, or supporting other candidates for that office.”  On the other hand, Booker also said, “I’m actually looking at [a Senate candidacy] a lot as well.”

Last night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Booker seems to be aiming now for the latter:

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is leaning against jumping into next year’s race for New Jersey governor and instead is having serious discussions about running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Democrat has discussed announcing later this week that he will form an exploratory committee focused on a run for the seat held by the 88-year-old Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, two of those people said. It is possible that Mr. Booker, a prolific Twitter user, could make the announcement via a message to his 1.3 million followers.

“He’s got an intricate system of who he’s going to call before he tweets this,” one of the people said.

This probably has to do with Christie’s standing in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.  His approval rating soared after the disaster, and he gained ground even with Democrats after his public cooperation with Barack Obama on the federal response.  Both his popularity and approval rating with New Jersey residents have far exceeded re-elect numbers with just about a year to go before the election.  No one is unbeatable in theory — remember what happened to George H. W. Bush’s high approval ratings 18 months before the 1992 presidential election — but Christie would be as close as one gets to it at the moment.

Waiting for the 2014 race makes more sense for Booker.  First, he hasn’t prepared a real organization to challenge a highly-popular incumbent, which puts him far behind in a 2013 race.  Booker can build an organization in 2013 to challenge for the Democratic nomination to replace Frank Lautenberg, who will almost certainly retire a second time and leave an open field.  No other Democrat would have the standing in New Jersey as Booker does, and he may not even face a meaningful primary challenge at all.

That leaves Democrats empty-handed in next year’s election, though:

If Mr. Booker decides to forgo a run for governor, it would drastically shake up the race for Democrats, as party leaders across the state haven’t unified behind another candidate.

“If Booker doesn’t get in, it’s certainly a much more wide-open field,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.

That’s one way of putting it.  Another way is that they won’t have a prayer of defeating Christie.  The best they can do might be to run a promising young candidate who can get his feet wet in state-wide politics to run against him as a sacrificial lamb in order to raise his profile for future elections.

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All preparatory to running for president. The dems have found their winning formula and I can’t see them running a presidential ticket without a person of color at the top ever again. Race trumps gender, and Hillary is just another old white woman, so she’s toast, IMO.

totherightofthem on December 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Christie will not be reelected. Booker wants the senate because it’s the sweetest gig on the planet. It’s the House of Lords. You can even leave your seat to your kid.

Rocks on December 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Ugh… Butterball is going to saunter to victory. Apparently, Judas is still deluded enough that he thinks he can be President and 14% of R voters actual support him. This sort of confuses me after the disgraceful way he acted in October. If you actually think this is a good idea.. please explain why.

Illinidiva on December 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Sure. Why should South Carolina corner the market on bachelor Senators?

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Well.. Senator Graham will have someone to hit the gay bars with.. He was devastated when the Oompa Loompa lost in FL because they were making plans to be fabulous together.

Illinidiva on December 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Frank Lautenberg will finally retire to his crypt, waiting for +3 enchanted weapon to find him.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Democrats are horrified that Republicans will soon have the only African-Aemrican in the Senate. They want Booker to run, so they could have a face to parade around in their DC discussions.

amazingmets on December 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM

ride that fat boy cory!!! yipeeeee

renalin on December 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

LOL … and in other NJ news … the liberal love-fest with Christie continues…

Chris Christie Accepts Endorsement from Laborers International Union

Pork-Chop on December 18, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Well apparently the server gods are not liking my link posted to the CNET article warning people that INSTAGRAM is going to OWN ALL PHOTOS effective January 16th.

If you have any political photos out there or have used it to share you should delete them.

PappyD61 on December 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Governatin’ be hard work. Lot easier to roll Lautenberg’s rotting corpse out of the senate & it am gravy time for Booker.

bloviator on December 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Race trumps gender, and Hillary is just another old white woman, so she’s toast, IMO.

totherightofthem on December 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

That’s why they went to the mattresses over Susan Rice. Until it went public that she was an arrogant 1% er Biatch…. she was headed for higher office- something like Swillary’s VP choice….

Wonder now, if a Condi on the Romney ticket wouldn’t have helped more to get rid of the Marxist Occupier of the WH…………. we’ll never know.

FlaMurph on December 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

totherightofthem on December 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM


I had thought that Booker would roll The Fat Man in the Guv race; knocking off a top GOP contender increases his likelihood for the Prez nomination, but I have a hunch the Fat Man is gonna switch parties.

The GOP is headed for Whig City.

The Tea Party will be the home to the bitter-clinger wing, the RINO’s will finally Donk up and the “non-ideological” mushies will fade further into irrelevancy.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Nothing sadder than a clown without a circus.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

…whatever he wants!…the MSM has it’s knee pads on…and bibs for any drool that slips out!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2012 at 9:41 PM