Newark Mayor Cory Booker has his eyes set on Washington in 2014, specifically the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Frank Lautenberg. The increasingly popular Booker has opted not to run against current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in this year’s election, after entertaining the idea of a gubernatorial campaign last month. Instead, he will look to replace an aging Lautenberg in the midterm elections. Lautenberg however, has not announced his intention to retire at the end of his term. Appearing on CNN’s Starting Point, Booker hinted that he hoped to run unopposed, just short of asking Lautenberg of stepping down.
“I want to give him the space to make his own decision. I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is we’ve got a good senator,” Booker said on Monday’s program. “He’s been loyal. He’s been there for a long time. And I think he’s got a decision to make.”
Lautenberg will be 90 years old come the 2014 elections, and has served New Jersey in the Senate for 28 years, with a short gap between 2001 and 2003. Recently a spokesman for Lautenberg said that the Senator was focusing on passing bills for Superstorm Sandy relief, and pushing for new gun legislation, rather than “political distractions.” Booker’s second term as mayor will end in 2014, and until then he is content to await Lautenberg’s decision.
“I’m focusing on my job for now. And I hope to talk to him. We’ve reached out to him a number of times. In fact, I had a plane trip going down to meet with him, but unfortunately with a lot of the challenges going down in Washington, he had to cancel the meeting,” Booker added.
Booker was previously considered one of the only Democrats capable of running against the Republican Christie, whose approval ratings have soared following his handling of Superstorm Sandy and his speech at the Republican National Convention. Christie is being considered as an early candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016.