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U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker at a press conference on Aug. 6, 2018. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Menendez: NJ would back Booker for president

By Nikita Biryukov, August 06 2018 2:26 pm

BRICK – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has yet to publicly say whether he’s running for president in 2020, but U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez doesn’t see New Jerseyans picking any other candidate should the junior senator throws his hat into the ring.

“I cannot imagine a scenario in which New Jersey wouldn’t be totally supportive of Cory Booker,” Menendez said on Monday. “He’s not only incredibly popular, but he’s a great U.S. senator. I think his views are clearly right at the heart of where New Jerseyans are at, and they would want to see somebody like that to have the ability to take those views to the White House.”

Though he has been touted as a possible presidential contender since the previous cycle, Booker has largely remained coy on whether or not he would mount a run at the post in 2020, even as he has continued to raise his profile nationally by stumping for Democrats, including Menendez and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones.

He’s also put himself at the forefront of the fight over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, though that effort has yielded mixed results.

Booker remained focused on the latter issue on Monday, appearing alongside Menendez and Rep. Frank Pallone at a press conference on Kavanaugh’s environmental record.

Still, whether or not New Jersey’s support means anything comes down to whether or not Booker chooses to make a run at the presidency. If he does, he’d likely be joined by liberal U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as by former Vice President Joe Biden.

Menendez wouldn’t say whether or not Booker himself should mount a run, opting to leave that to his junior senator.

“You have to think about your own history and what that means in terms of a national race, and you have to have the fire in the belly,” Menendez said. “And, only if you’re honest with yourself, you’re running for the right reasons, and you have the fire in the belly. If the answers to those are yes, yes, you should run.”

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