Booker said to eye a run for governor

Posted: August 26, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey Democratic county chairman said Friday that Newark Mayor Cory Booker told him he was mulling a gubernatorial run against Gov. Christie in 2013, which drew a demurral from the mayor.

The chairman, who said he spoke on condition of anonymity because the county's executive committee had not been told the news, said he met with Booker last week. The chairman said Booker requested the meeting.

The chairman said Booker had talked to other county chairs about his potential plans.

"He has reached out," the chairman said. "He said he's weighing a possible run and he'll decide by December."

Booker disputed that he was disclosing possible plans to county chairs, a development first reported by politickernj.com on Thursday.

He told WBGO-FM's Newark Today on Thursday night that he was canvassing the state and country to help reelect President Obama. Booker, who is cochairman of the national Democratic Party's platform committee, is to speak at the party's national convention next month.

Christie has been selected as the keynote speaker for the Republican National Convention next week, a coveted slot that often has served as a launching pad for up-and-coming politicians.

Christie had considered a 2012 presidential bid of his own before endorsing Mitt Romney.

Booker said on the radio show that there would be "a lot of things to consider" after the presidential election.

A possible gubernatorial run is "being asked of me by a lot of folks, and again my response is that those decisions have to wait," Booker said, adding that he was focused on governing Newark and Obama's reelection.

Booker did not immediately respond to Twitter messages Friday. His spokeswoman, Kimberly DeHaarte, declined to comment.

Speculation about Booker's political future has been swirling for much of his second term as Newark's mayor.

In June, the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Booker may be eyeing a U.S. Senate run in 2014. He formed a federal PAC in June.

Other county chairs said they had not spoken to Booker about possible plans to run for higher office.

"You hear rumors all the time that he might be running for governor, he might be running for senator," said Louis Stellato, chair of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County. "He is a rock star in the Democratic Party. He polls very well and he has virtually celebrity status."

Charlotte De Fillipo, chairwoman of the Union County Democratic Committee, said that while Booker is a friend, the two had not met to discuss his political future. Booker is, however, one of the candidates she would like to see challenge Christie.

"He has the ability to raise money. He certainly has the intellect and the drive. Those are requisites," De Fillipo said. "I'm not sure who else will be. It's a long way between now and next year. But he makes an entrancing candidate."

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