Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

New Jersey: Booker Explores Senate Bid

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is exploring a run for the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. Booker posted a video with an announcement Thursday morning.

“Let there be no doubt. I will complete my full second term,” the Newark mayor said. “I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014.”

In that same video, he gave a nod to Lautenberg. The incumbent has given no indication that he plans to do anything other than run for re-election in 2014.

“As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Sen. Frank Lautenberg. It would be a privilege and honor to continue his legacy of service.”

But the hang up is that Lautenberg has yet to announce his retirement, and political observers in New Jersey politics are evenly split on whether he will step aside. As it stands, Booker’s move could foreshadow a primary challenge. Booker had previously considered challenging Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Much interest has surrounded Booker in recent weeks about his future. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., expressed frustration Wednesday with the length of time it has taken Booker to make his decision.

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. is also on the list of possible Senate candidates.

The news was first reported by a New York City NBC affiliate.

Updated 9:41 p.m. | Lauenberg spokesman Caley Gray released a statement saying that the senator will address his 2014 plans in the new year.

“Senator Lautenberg is focused on passing a critical disaster relief bill for New Jersey and addressing America’s broken gun laws. The last several months and weeks have been a painful time for New Jersey and America and the Senator is working on the tough issues we face. This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year.”


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