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U.S. Senator Cory Booker. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

Booker says no to possible run for N.J. governor

U.S. Senator says he’ll seek re-election in 2026

By David Wildstein, February 14 2022 6:46 am

Cory Booker says he isn’t interested considering a run for Governor of New Jersey in 2025 and said he will seek re-election to the United States Senate in 2026.

“I’m focused on the job I have and I’m focused on running for re-election.  Gosh, it seems so far from now because I just got re-elected,” Booker said in an appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC this weekend.   “We just re-elected a governor.  I’m giving my full support to him in his second term.”

Booker touted his work with Gov. Phil Murphy and local officials in Newark to become the first city in the nation to completely remove lead pipes that affect the safety of the city’s drinking water.

“I just love my job – that I can actually do things that produce real results that affect lives,” Booker said.  “I’ve got a great job and I thank New Jersey every day for giving me the chance to do it.”

Murphy is term-limited and some Democrats have already begun to position themselves for the next election.

Former Senate President Steve Sweeney announced his intention to run for governor at a plumber union convention in December 2021.   Last week, a super PAC affiliated with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop raised $1.4 million at an event, bring their cash-on-hand to over $5 million.

But another potential candidate, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), wouldn’t discuss a possible statewide run in her own appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC.

“My focus right now is on 2022 and serving the 11th district of New Jersey,” she said.

Other possible Democratic candidates for governor include: Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver; Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin; Senate President Nicholas Scutari; Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Senate Education Committee Chairman Vin Gopal; Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson); and Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller, the president of the New Jersey Education Association.

Republican Jack Ciattarelli, who came within three points of defeating Murphy last year, announced his intention to run in 2025 during his concession speech.

Former Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt, State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) and New Jersey 101.5 radio host Bill Spadea are also being mentioned as prospective GOP candidates.

Booker has expressed interest at running for governor before, back in 2012 when he was midway through his second term as mayor of Newark.

While attending the Democratic National Convention, he suggested that he might take on Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.  But just before Christmas, Booker announced that he would not run against Christie but instead said he was looking at a run for U.S. Senate in 2014, when the Democratic incumbent, Frank Lautenberg, would be 90.

Two weeks later, a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll had Booker leading Lautenberg in a Democratic primary matchup by double-digits, 42%-20%.

He formed a campaign committee to challenge Lautenberg, prompting the five-term U.S. Senator to suggested that the Booker needed a “spanking” for being disrespectful.

Lautenberg later announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014.   Four months later, Lautenberg died in office, prompting a 2013 special election to fill the remaining fourteen months of his term.

Booker won a special August primary by 144,352 votes, 59%-20%, against Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch).  Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) finished third with 17% and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver received 4%.    In the October special election, Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, by 147,058 votes, 55%-44%.

In his 2020 re-election campaign, Booker received more actual votes than any statewide candidate in New Jersey history: 2,541,178.

The last time a political party won three consecutive gubernatorial elections was in 1961, when former Superior Court Judge Richard J. Hughes won an upset victory to succeed Democratic Gov. Robert Meyner.

Hughes was trailing the GOP nominee, former U.S. Secretary of Labor James P. Mitchell, who had served in President Eisenhower’s cabinet.  But Mitchell broke his leg in September and was off the campaign trail for several weeks at a time when retail campaigning was essential.

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