County chair: Booker weighs bid for NJ gov in '13

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2012 7:10 PM
County chair: Booker weighs bid for NJ gov in '13

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat who leads New Jersey's largest city, is mulling a gubernatorial run against Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013, a Democratic county chairman said Friday.

The chairman, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the county's executive committee hasn't yet been told the news, met with Booker last week. The chairman said Booker requested the meeting, told him he is considering running for governor and will make a final decision by December.

The chairman said Booker has 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 on Thursday.

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

Christie, meanwhile, was tapped as the keynote speaker for the Republican National Convention next week, a coveted speaking slot that often has served as a launching pad for up-and-coming politicians. He had considered a 2012 presidential bid of his own before endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

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

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

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 Star-Ledger newspaper 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 have 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 have 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."