Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said he’s considering a challenge to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie next year or a possible run for U.S. Senate in 2014, plans to decide on his future in the next two weeks.
A decision “has got to be within the next two weeks or so because, especially in New Jersey, there’s a lot of good candidates for governor on the Democratic side,” said Booker, 43, a rising Democratic star with a national following. He made the comments today on “Face the Nation,” the CBS network television show.
Booker, mayor of New Jersey’s largest city since 2006, trailed Christie by 18 percentage points in a potential match-up, according to a Quinnipiac University poll last month that showed the mayor was the strongest Democratic challenger. Before a gain in Christie’s popularity following superstorm Sandy, a similar survey had the Republican with a 4 point lead.
Booker said he’s weighing a run against Christie, or a potential Senate run for the seat now held by Democrat Frank Lautenberg, 88. He said he wants to remain part of the Democrats’ “push forward,” either as a candidate or supporter.
“I’m really thinking about both offices right now and which one can I better serve on the issues I’m passionate about,” Booker said.
Christie, who unseated incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in 2009, climbed to a record approval rating of 77 percent as Democrats and independents gave him high marks for his storm response, according to a Nov. 26 PublicMind poll. He announced his pursuit of a second term the same day, saying he wanted to finish the job of leading the storm recovery.
Booker, a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate, promised to reduce crime and lure businesses to Newark when he defeated Sharpe James, the city’s mayor for 20 years. James later went to jail for helping a woman profit off city land deals.
Booker served as co-chairman of the Democratic Party’s platform committee for its national convention in September.