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U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) campaigns in New Hampshire on April 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Lowery for the Cory 2020 campaign.

Booker kicks off ‘Justice for All’ tour in Newark

Democratic presidential candidate holds hometown rally today

By David Wildstein, April 13 2019 12:35 am

New Jersey’s Cory Booker will kickoff his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination this morning with a rally in his hometown of Newark.

Booker’s White House bid comes two decades after he began his political career as a candidate for city councilman in Newark’s Central Ward.

A Rhodes Scholar and former Urban Justice Center lawyer, Booker — who grew up in the Bergen County suburb of Harrington Park — moved to Newark during his final year at Yale Law School.  In 1998, at age 29, he challenged Central Ward councilman George Branch, a four-term incumbent who was 40 years older.

Booker forced Branch into a runoff after trailing him by just 340 votes in the May non-partisan election.  He won the runoff with 55% of the vote.

In 2002, Booker challenged four-term Newark mayor Sharpe James and held him to a 3,494-vote win, 53%-46%.

Booker never stopped running and James bowed out when his fifth term ended in 2002.  Booker was elected mayor by 21,797 votes (72%-23%) against State Sen. Ronald Rice and two others.

He was re-elected four years later by a margin of 9,175 (59%-35%) against former Essex County Prosecutor Clifford Minor.

Following Frank Lautenberg’s death in June 2013, Booker became a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.  He won a special August primary with 59%. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch) finished second with 20%, followed by Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) with 17% and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) with 4%.

In the October special general election, Booker defeated former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan by 147,058 votes, 55%-44%.

He was re-elected in 2014 by a 56%-42% margin – 252,569 votes – against former Reagan speechwriter Jeff Bell.

Booker’s “Justice for All” tour will take him to Iowa, Georgia and Nevada over the next week.

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