Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced this morning that he would “explore the possibility” of running for Senate in 2014, skipping a potential challenge against Chris Christie in next year’s gubernatorial race.
Booker made the announcement in a video posted on his official YouTube account.
“As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Senator Frank Lautenberg. It would be a privilege, an honour, to continue his legacy of service.”
Booker was widely viewed as perhaps the only legitimate Democratic challenger to current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has already announced that he plans to run for re-election.
But Booker faced a significant hurdle in challenging Christie. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Christie’s approval rating has soared to record highs, and he remains popular across party lines. Fresh criticism on Booker that popped up last week in a New York Times story also would have been troubling in a potential campaign for governor.
Booker has what could potentially be a much easier path to a Senate seat in 2014. Current Sen. Frank Lautenberg will be 90 in 2014, but it’s still unclear if he plans to retire. Even if he doesn’t, polls show that New Jersey voters would prefer Booker in the seat.
Booker said in the video that he would “fight hard for the entire Democratic ticket” in New Jersey’s 2013 elections. He also gave a preview of what his national platform might look like — he urged immigration reform, “marriage equality for all,” and “sanity” on the nation’s gun-safety laws.