U.S. Senator Cory Booker wants to be the first New Jerseyan to win the presidency since Gov. Woodrow Wilson in 1912.
In 1960, New Jersey’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention were pledged to Gov. Robert Meyner, the favorite-son candidate. Meyner was interested in the presidency, but never formally entered the race; he had hoped that delegates might turn to him as their candidate if the convention deadlocked between John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
New Jersey magazine publisher Steve Forbes sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.
Forbes won primaries in Delaware and Arizona in February 1996 but withdrew in March after Bob Dole won Iowa and 22 other states. In 2000, he finished second in Iowa and a distant third in New Hampshire and dropped out after a third place finish in Delaware.
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2000 in a two-man contest against Vice President Al Gore. He withdrew on March 9 after never topping his 45.6% second place in New Hampshire.
Gov. Chris Christie ran for president in 2016 but withdrew after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary. He won 1.8% in Iowa and 7.4% in New Hampshire and failed to win any delegates.
Four months after Gov. Thomas Kean won re-election with 70% of the vote, he fueled speculation of a bid for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination when he accepted an invitation to speak at the March 1986 Lincoln Day Dinner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
That summer, Kean formed a “Friends of Tom Kean PAC” to fund his out of state travels—he did not drain state party resources to pay for his own national ambitions—and raised nearly $500,000 by the end of 1986.
By early 1987, Kean had decided not to run.
Booker, who grew up in Harrington Park, is the second Bergen County native to seek the presidency next year. Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Maryland) grew up in Wood-Ridge, attended Bergen Catholic High School, and went to college on a scholarship provided by his father’s union, IBEW Local 164 in Paramus.
Delaney ousted a Republican congressman in 2012 and gave up the seat last year to seek the presidency.