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Cory Booker Hints at Chris Christie Challenge, Senate Run

Although he's focused on running Newark for now, he's strongly considering seeking higher office in the future, Booker revealed Wednesday.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is having the time of his life leading his city's urban revitalization, but it hasn't kept him from strongly considering a run at higher office when his term expires in 2014.

That's what the rising Democratic star told a partisan audience of about 200 on Wednesday night at a Fair Lawn Democratic County Committee event at the Fair Lawn Community Center.

"I came [to Newark] and said I was going to do a mission," said Booker, responding to an audience question about his future political aspirations. "But I'll tell you this, I'm strongly considering the options at the end of my term."

Booker said he has his eyes set on either the governor's seat or the U.S. Senate seat currently held by 88-year-old Frank Lautenberg.

If Booker intends to challenge Chris Christie in next year's New Jersey governor's race, he'll need to start ramping up his campaign very soon. A run at Lautenberg's seat, which opens up in 2014, appears more logistically plausible.

In June, the Star-Ledger reported that sources close to the Booker camp said he was considering a U.S. Senate run.

"There's a potential for a Senate run if the lane opens up for a Senate run," a source close to Booker who was not authorized to speak on the record told the Star-Ledger.

Outside of announcing his future political aspirations—which were met with thunderous applause—Booker spoke about some of his achievements in Newark, expounded on his belief in the "connspiracy of love," and stumped for President Barack Obama's reelection bid.

His humorous personal anecdotes about growing up in Harrington Park, frivolously banning late night talk show host Conan O'Brien from Newark Liberty International Airport, receiving a "special mommy hug" from Michelle Obama after his recent Meet the Press flap and becoming the president of Oxford's L'Chaim Society all drew raucous laughter and applause.

"He was engaging, animated and had me on the edge of my seat, chin in hands and hanging on his every word," said 25-year-old resident Leah Batelli, who canvassed for Obama in 2008 as a member of Rutgers Democrats, and had heard Booker speak once before.

Booker responded to an audience question about countering falsehoods propagated by political campaigns by saying he believed this presidential campaign would go down as one of the most negative of all time, due in large part to the corporate money flowing into super PACs as a result of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.

Although he called some of the recent anti-Obama mudslinging "so outrageous," he said the best Democratic counter to Republican attacks is simply motivating the party's base to vote on election day.

"I don't get bothered by people who spew hate and disinformation," Booker said. "What bothers me is the good people that we all have in our lives who don't think it's important to get involved."

If Democrats could wake up their inactive constituency, he said, it would drown out any negativity coming from the other side.

Booker, whom Fair Lawn councilwoman Lisa Swain introduced as "one hot politician," opened his talk by recalling what he said was his final high school football game.

"The last time I was in this area I was playing on that field out there," Booker said, gesturing out the window toward Sasso Field. "I grew up in Harrington Park, at Old Tappan High School, and we lost our last game against ."

When's Booker's statement was met with a rousing cheer from the audience, he acknowledged he was probably in front of the wrong crowd to seek sympathy, and then offered a facetious challenge.

"I’m hoping that afterward we can all go to the field and have a little football game," he said "I brought some security from Newark—our guys against your guys.”

In addition to Booker, other speakers at Wednesday's event included councilman Kurt Peluso, Obama's New Jersey state campaign director Jackie Cornell-Bechelli and Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Lou Stellato. Fair Lawn Democratic Muncipal Chair Cristina Cutrone served as moderator.

Cornell Christianson contributed to this report

Paul J. DiBartolo July 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Philosophically, I have a general problem with supporting Democrats but I've heard a number of good things about Cory Booker. That said, please don't waste your time and burn out attempting to unseat Chris Christie if he chose to run again. On the other hand, how many times do we have to put Frank Lautenberg out to pasture? Please, Mr. Booker, by all means, do us a favor and oust Lautenberg as well as nip in the bud any attempt by life-timer Rob Andrews to seek that seat again. That's a win-win situation that nobody could oppose.
Ric July 27, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Between Christie and Booker, I would go with Booker. Christie is an embarrassment and his millionaire tax relief plan is plain nuts. But run Booker against any good republican and I would go for the republican. The democrats kowtow to the unions, especially (teachers) and take graft while the republicans only take graft. Oh how this state runs Ancient Rome, you have to support the least dishonest candidate.
TruthbeTold July 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM
who are you listening to that tell you good things about booker? maybe you should come to newark and talk to the residents I assure you we dont have ANY good things to say about this clown
Paul J. DiBartolo July 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I must state that I don't know a whole lot about Booker. I only became aware of him when the flap over his critical comments of the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's business experience and private equity. At that time the attack dogs were loosed on him and he had to essentially backtrack from that position. I'm sure his unkind words towards "The One" will ultimately be remembered when he needs party support in any future endeavor. If nothing else, those comments critical of Obama's attacks on business will forever endear Booker to me:-)
TruthbeTold July 27, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Well then I don't blame you because what people mostly see is whats in the press and all his twitter posts. if you talk to the average Newarker they will let you know what is is about. How he does nothing in Newark unless it helps his image. He has many issues and if the world thinks he will be good in a bigger role so be it. It will benefit us in Newark because we would get rid of this Joke of a so called mayor.
Jasomm July 27, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Unless he eventually wants to run for president, I dont think the senate suits him. He is an excellent executive, and would be an exemplary governor, and probably a good president, so a senate seat would be a waste of time just getting him some national experience and exposure.
agent itchy July 28, 2012 at 02:44 AM
TruthbeTold, have you spoken with Newarkers? because I've spent six years living in West Orange and working in Newark during Sharpe James' terms. Newark is far far better today than in the 90's or earlier. Remember, many of Booker's critics are Clifford Minor supporters. If you expected favors from Minor and he lost to Booker than you're no fan of Booker. That's politics. Is Booker without fault? no, but he's a far cry from what they had.
Cinnacide July 28, 2012 at 07:22 AM
The next election will be in the form of an eating contest. It will be the governor candidate vs. Christie; who ever can eat a 12' Italian hoagie in the fastest time wins. Christie is the current record holder at 5 minutes and 2 seconds.
TruthbeTold July 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM
I am a life long Newarker and I remember Clifford Minor and I was actually a big booker supporter until I actually got to know him and work with his team. He is not who you think he is by far, he may be the best option in newark because we have NO option. that lack of leadership gave rise to someone with lack of work and a good gab of speech to take the political world by storm. It still does not make him a good mayor it just makes him a good actor and great media mogal
Paul J. DiBartolo July 28, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Congratulations, Cinnacide, the comments were all reasonable and dealing with opinion based on each one's understanding of the facts until you decided to up the intelligent quotient and make it about personal insults. That's a dead give away to a small mind and someone who has nothing intelligent to say. Did you think that up yourself or are you just parroting the 25 others I've seen on the Patch who use that same M.O.?
TruthbeTold July 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I agree with Paul, If you do not have anything intelligent to say for or against Cory then just no not comment your comments equal to that of your IQ "Nothing"
Ric July 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM
OMG! LOL! That is funny. His supporters claim Christie can accomplish much, so why doesn't he accomplish weight loss? He is disgustingly fat and makes New Jersey look like a bunch of fatties. Any Joe the Plumber can lose weight: even I lost my excess weight. Christie’s problem is his mouth is always open
Cinnacide July 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Oh, I didn't know you felt that way. Would you rather I sit here and throw useless statistics at you about how Christie did or didn't do something right based on my opinion? If politics were so cut and dry, there would be a clear candidate every time. You want something intelligent? I find that amusing since all of the political arguments on this site spin so wildly out of control that nothing of worth ever gets said. You think I have zero intelligence? Blame your school systems, not me.
agent itchy July 28, 2012 at 07:01 PM
TruthbeTold, you are NOT a lifelong Newarker or you'd still be living there. Minor and his supporters are still a thorn in Booker's side. They wanted Minor and the favors that he would would give them after an election win. He lost and his people are still obstructionists. I regularly do business in Newark and visit there frequently. Newark is no gleaming city and still struggles, but it's noticeably better today than at anytime since before the riots of the '60s. i invite anyone to take NJ Transit to Newark and walk around the Ironbound, the area near Seton Hall Law, the Pru Center and the downtown area. I looked into buying a house in the Ironbound and was shocked to see homes in the half million dollar range.
Paul J. DiBartolo July 28, 2012 at 07:27 PM
No, Cinnacide, no need to keep it cogent if you find it that difficult. As for the failure of the government-run public school systems being partly to blame for your self-admitted lack of intelligence (your own words), where were you when I needed somebody to support me in my claims that the public school systems were outmoded and failing us?
Cinnacide July 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
So you think school systems run by a non-government agency would be better? That's a joke. I'd love to see a generation of children taught by the Coca-Cola corporation and how backwards they would be. Corporate corruption has already taken its toll on the entire world, the last thing I would want is those lunatics trying to teach my children.
Paul J. DiBartolo July 29, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Your public-school education is showing again, Cinnacide. I didn't call for corporate-run schools. Private, religious, charter...they all, for the most part, smoke the public school system. It's not my opinion, it's fact. BTW, speaking of corporate-run education, have you seen the attempt by ExxonMobil partnering the Mickelson-ExxonMobil Teacher's Academy and the Sally Ride Science academy in an effort to boost U.S. students' performance as shown in their TV commercials, "Let's Solve This"? You can see their web page here: http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/news_ad_us12_letssolvethis.aspx In fact, I posted a six-part blog on the Gloucester Township Patch addressing the situation of "Education in America." Feel free to look it up and dispute anything I wrote. I'd welcome the challenge. Here's the link to Part 6 which includes links to Parts 1 thru 5. http://gloucestertownship.patch.com/blog_posts/education-in-america-part-vi-are-the-exxonmobil-initiatives-enough All in all, though, I'm not sure Coca-Cola could do worse that what we have now. Given that U.S. students place 17th in science and 25th in math against the rest of the world, it would be difficult to do much worse.
Olivier Francis August 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
So Paul likes Booker because he differed with a Democratic, elected by the people, if I might add, President. Way to go, Paul. So let us all work toward a one party America. We have one too many.
Bucky Winters August 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM
If he can fix Newark, then he must move onto Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Palestine.
TruthbeTold August 20, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I like it when Silly sorry I mean Chilly people like this come up with assumptions you know what they say then you ASSume something anyway. To clearify things I "DO" live in newark and go through all of the normal everyday struggles that everyother Newarker does and just like everyone else on blogs that posts comments everyone has their own opinions even those that support Hollywood.

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