Cory Booker Hints at Chris Christie Challenge, Senate Run

Booker said at a Democratic County Committee event in Fair Lawn Wednesday that although he's focused on running Newark for now, he's strongly considering seeking higher office in the future.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is having the time of his life leading his city's urban revitalization, but it hasn't kept him from strongly considering a run at higher office when his term expires in 2014.

That's what the rising Democratic star told a partisan audience of about 200 on Wednesday night at a Fair Lawn Democratic County Committee event at the Fair Lawn Community Center.

"I came [to Newark] and said I was going to do a mission," said Booker, responding to an audience question about his future political aspirations. "But I'll tell you this, I'm strongly considering the options at the end of my term."

Booker said he has his eyes set on either the governor's seat or the U.S. Senate seat currently held by 88-year-old Frank Lautenberg.

If Booker intends to challenge Chris Christie in next year's New Jersey governor's race, he'll need to start ramping up his campaign very soon. A run at Lautenberg's seat, which opens up in 2014, appears more logistically plausible.

In June, the Star-Ledger reported that sources close to the Booker camp said he was considering a U.S. Senate run.

"There's a potential for a Senate run if the lane opens up for a Senate run," a source close to Booker who was not authorized to speak on the record told the Star-Ledger.

Outside of announcing his future political aspirations -- which were met with thunderous applause -- Booker spoke about some of his achievements in Newark, expounded on his belief in the "Conspiracy of Love," and stumped for President Barack Obama's reelection bid.

His humorous personal anecdotes about growing up in Harrington Park, frivolously banning late night talk show host Conan O'Brien from Newark Liberty International Airport, receiving a "special mommy hug" from Michelle Obama after his recent "Meet the Press" flap and becoming the president of Oxford's L'Chaim Society all drew raucous laughter and applause.

"He was engaging, animated and had me on the edge of my seat, chin in hands and hanging on his every word," said 25-year-old resident Leah Batelli, who canvassed for Obama in 2008 as a member of Rutgers Democrats, and had heard Booker speak once before.

Booker responded to an audience question about countering falsehoods propagated by political campaigns by saying he believed this presidential campaign would go down as one of the most negative of all time, due in large part to the corporate money flowing into super PACs as a result of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.

Although he called some of the recent anti-Obama mudslinging, "so outrageous," he said the best Democratic counter to Republican attacks is simply motivating the party's base to vote on election day.

"I don't get bothered by people who spew hate and disinformation," Booker said. "What bothers me is the good people that we all have in our lives who don't think it's important to get involved."

If Democrats could wake up their inactive constituency, he said, it would drown out any negativity coming from the other side.

Booker, whom Fair Lawn councilwoman Lisa Swain introduced as "one hot politician," opened his talk by recalling what he said was his final high school football game.

"The last time I was in this area I was playing on that field out there," Booker said, gesturing out the window toward Sasso Field. "I grew up in Harrington Park, at Old Tappan High School, and we lost our last game against ."

When's Booker's statement was met with a rousing cheer from the audience, he acknowledged he was probably in front of the wrong crowd to seek sympathy, and then offered a facetious challenge.

"I’m hoping that afterward we can all go to the field and have a little football game," he said "I brought some security from Newark – our guys against your guys.”

In addition to Booker, other speakers at Wednesday's event included councilman Kurt Peluso, Obama's New Jersey state campaign director Jackie Cornell-Bechelli and Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Lou Stellato. Fair Lawn Democratic Muncipal Chair Cristina Cutrone served as moderator.

Cornell Christianson contributed to this report

Redrider765 July 27, 2012 at 07:47 PM
State aid to pay for the overspending in your community. Glad the man cut it and made you and your neighbors pay more. I wish he would completely eliminate it in all communities. If people want to overpay their city's workers, they should have to foot the bill for that.
christian cooper July 29, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Booker is an empty suit who has achieved some transient celebrity. Just an old time smooth-talking politician. What does he stand for? Barack Obama? Give me a break - that just makes him Nancy Pelosi. He has demonstrated nothing, but he is the flavor of the moment and, sadly, that is enough for our undereducated electorate.
Redrider765 July 29, 2012 at 02:09 PM
He is far better than the last 2 mayors and he is having to clean up and fix a city that has suffered from decades of incompetent and corrupt leadership. Personally I think he is doing a great job though considering the situation and I am completely shocked he has managed to keep the city out of bankruptcy or a complete state takeover this long.
VietNam Vet July 30, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Selene, I don't know about you, but I'll take that windbag you are talking about any day of the week. The last thing we need is another idiot democrap back running the state who will be out for himself and how he can rape New Jersey just like your hero Corzine did and Odumbo/Osama is doing to the country. When that windbag you mentioned took over this state was in such a financial mess on the verge of bankruptcy. Christie is pulling this state out of that mess and hasn't raised any taxes in the process. I would love to see one of these idiot democraps try that without raising taxes. We all know if you want things done right and don't want an increase in your taxes, vote for a Republican. If you want your taxes to go up, then vote for an ignorant democrap. Get real for a change and wake up to what is really going on in this country.
VietNam Vet July 30, 2012 at 06:17 AM
He is more capable of ripping off the state just as your stupid thief hero Corzine did. Get real will you, and wake up!!!!!
GlenRockGuy July 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Yeah, yeah, "Democrats raise taxes, Republicans lower them, blah, blah, blah." You rightwingnuts exist in a reality that is unconnected to reality. You just say stuff on cue like a dog trained to roll over and bark every time his master snaps his fingers. Here's a dose of fact based reality; since that fat windbag took office my property taxes have gone up over 30%. That's about 10% more than they rose during Corzine's entire term. So go ahead and continue to vote for the guy that has nothing to offer you but a few seconds of perverse emotional gratification by screaming at a teacher or some other scapegoat. I'll look at my tax bill that comes every three months and vote for the guy who actually does something to lower it.
Dick Gozinia July 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I hear ya glen rock guy but good luck at seeing your taxes go lower they never will, you want a lower property tax bill? move to another state. I cant wait to get the hell out of here
tryintosurvive July 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM
It may not be fashionable to say but mt thoughts are this. Booker is doing a good job in a difficult situation. He will probably succeed when he tries for higher office. He happens to be a Democrat. Christie is also doing a good job in a difficulty situation. He is probably at the highest level of elected public office that he can reach. He happens to be a Republican. Neither one of them is suspected of doing anything that will get them thrown in jail. Quite a feat for New Jersey politicians.
Redrider765 July 30, 2012 at 01:16 PM
How about you stop getting upset that the state isn't subsidizing your community's spending and you start getting upset w/ how much money your city, your school system and your county spends and you start electing people who cut spending. It isn't the state's problem that your property tax bill went up by 30%. The people you voted for in your community spent that money and only replacing them will get your budget and your tax bill under control.
Diane Eisen July 30, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Redrider - I agree with you - we need to elect new people to Town Council this November in Green Brook. Taxes increased by 6.5% this year and some people are paying even more due to reassessment.
Redrider765 July 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Reassessments are an entirely different thing. I wouldn't pay attention to that too much b/c if you are reassessed and your taxes go up, that means you paid too little in the past b/c your property was undervalued. Look at the city wide levy to see how much taxes went up or down for the community as a whole.
Diane Eisen July 30, 2012 at 02:18 PM
You're right about the reassessments. It's just that it's been a shocking 3rd quarter bill for many. I'm so disappointed and don't know when it's going to end. Green Brook has raised taxes more than any other Somerset County town over the past decade according to statistics published in the Star Ledger. It keeps on going....
Rosie July 30, 2012 at 03:24 PM
To Paul Brown: Your latest message to Selene is disgusting and disrespectful. This country is falling apart because of idiots like you and how you think about our country and our President. Ignorant Democrat????? Listen to Billionaire Mitt the Twit and follow him. You will certainly do better!!!!! Yeah!!!!! Right!!!!! I wish you luck.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Problem is he won't back up what he throws out there, he will be just like the moronic muslim maniac in washington, and do what he wants for his own good. They are all the same, the dems can't be trusted, I haven't met one that could back up what he says.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Selene, do you need someone to draw you a picture or are you just that blind and will believe anything these idiots tell. Maybe you are just a dummy and say what they want you to.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Max, I think you need to read the post above and see the real truth about this idiot who doesn't give a crap about Newark or the state only what he can get and to make a name for himself with Odumbo/Osama, thats where his interest lies.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Hey Glen Rock, why don't you go to some of your council and board of education meeting and see just is being done with your money for a change. My taxes has only gone up because of the mismanagement of fund in the mayor's office as well as the overpaying of a School Supt. that doesn't deserve half the money Parsippany is paying him. He really is a greedy pig, go se where your tax dollars are being wasted and on what, you'll really be surprised. The Gov. had nothing to do with it, he has tried as well as many taxpayers to get rid of this worthless greedy pig, but most of the long standing idiots on the board keep him one and tried to put one over on the Gov. and extend his contract 8 months before it expired, but got nailed. He has now refused to give back money he was overpaid and has cost the taxpayers over $ 38,000 in legal fees. Then we have a do what he wants mayor, both are costing us millions of dollars in wasted funds. Check out some waste in your town, you will be surprised to know where your money is going.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 06:34 AM
To Rosie, I guess you take after that other bigmouth name rosie o. who lost her show because she doesn't know when to shut up. The reason this country is in the shape its in is because of that idiotic illegal alien moronic muslim pig maniac that you put in wash. He hasn't attended any Daily Economics Briefings in over a year, hasn't met with the Jobs Council in over 6 months, but he did attend over 110 fundraisers and played 10 rounds of golf. So we know where his interest lies. He has revealed his true priorities, instead of fighting for jobs for americans, he is fighting for his own, while 23 million americans are struggling for work. But oh sure he is just wonderful heis doing a great job. Tell that to the people that are struggling to find work someplace. Get YOUR facts straight before putting your mouth in motion.
Adam Kraemer July 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM
The mayor has issues controling the cities budget. Why should I as voter trust him with the much larger state budget?
Redrider765 July 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM
The massive structural deficits in Newark predate Booker and won't go away until the city council in Newark cuts their own bloated costs to the bone. Those fat cats spend millions on cars, their staff, salaries & other perks that the city just can't afford and no mayor can get rid of those perks b/c the CC approves the budget.
Rosie July 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Hey Paul Brown: Before you start name- calling and putting down our President, remember who started this probem in the first place with his spending billions on a war that was not valid. Killing innocent people because of his wanting to make a name for himself. He should have sent his two prima donna daughters into battle. AND as far as taking off time from his duty as President, check out GWB's record on vacations and times at his million dollar ranch, etc. etc. He is to blame for what we are going throught today. Do you notice how he has disappeared from the face of the earth????? Think about it if you have the brains to do it.
Scondo July 31, 2012 at 05:42 PM
The Blame the Bush thing is old news, does not fly anymore, Nobody is paying attention to that line , Obama stands on his own record at this point, Trying to reach back 4 years for a scapegoat is nonsense.
Pete Mock July 31, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Actually Scondo, a surprisingly large percentage of the public still think the Bush admin is mostly responsible for many of our current problems, especially the economic issues, and especially the budget deficit. 43% of people think Bush is "mostly responsible for the federal budget deficit", to 14% for Obama. Shockingly insightful if you ask me, considering that much of the general public doesn't give much thought to the subject. The numbers are here... http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/would-romney-be-another-bill-clinton-or-another-george-w-bush/
Scondo July 31, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Actually Peter, it is not quite as you would portray, it is more like this: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/06/26/americans-split-on-obamas-economic-record/
Scondo July 31, 2012 at 08:26 PM
And my point is that after 4 years it is time for the current ownership to take ownership, quit the whinning, belly up to the bar and come up with a plan, any plan, some plan and say this is what they are going to do and move on. This crew seemingly is incapable of any thing except coasting for 4 years.
VietNam Vet July 31, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Actually Pete, it just shows how stupid those people really are, the economy was starting to pick up until this moronic muslim got in, then all hell broke lose and we lost millions of jobs all over. At least when Pres. Bush was still in we had cheaper gas, about $ 1.69 a gallon.
Scondo July 31, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Actually, Paul is just shows how politically charged the United States is, in fairness to Obama he had a choice, turn on the faucet of deficit spending and hopefully prime the pump or risk sending the world spinning off into a cataclysmic depression. He chose to try and keep it afloat. I can live with that , because the alternative is so dismal, but he should stand up and say: This is what I did so that your kids can eat tonght and we will need to dig ourselves out, and there is only one way and that means that everyone puts shoulder to wheel, Public sector you can't have 25 and out retirement, you can't have benies up the whazzoo, Fat dumb and happy folks sucking off SSD, get ready to go back to work, your back acke and your depression are no longer payable cases. Section 8 housing folks no more, Tax reform, you bet. He needs to get out and lead and not continue with the shallow politics, and sadly none on the national scene seem to be able to do that.
VietNam Vet August 01, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Sorry kid, but this jerk is just an illegal moronic muslim pig thief and a disgrace to this country and the American people. He is a walking talking disaster and destroys everything he comes in contact with. Pres. Bush may have went to his ranch but he was still in contact with things and took foreign people there to discuss things, read his book you might learn something. In the last year he hasn't bothered to attend a daily briefing, and hasn't met with the Jobs Council in over 6 months, but he did attend 110 fundraisers and played 10 rounds of golf, so we know what is more important to him. Instead of fighting for jobs in America he is only worried about keeping his own while 23 million Americans are struggling to find work. Yeah, we really know he is doing what he can, yeah for himself. Wake up and get real lady. This jerk is only worried about giving this country to the Arabs and taking us down a few pegs because he feels we have gotten to big over the years and is ashamed of this country that {he} says he is a {Citizen} of. What a joke! He hasn't lead this country one day in the last 4 years except into poverty. Just go ask the millions of people that are out of work and the 12 million illegal aliens he gave amnasty too, and is taking our jobs. Your a disgrace just like him if you fall for that Hope and Changey crap.
LENNY August 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM
FAIR LAWN TAXPAYERS THIS GROUP PAID NO FEE TO USE OUR CENTER! BORO MANGER YOU ARE LOOKING TO INCREASE $ for the town change the rule this was not a town meeting. our council menbers say one thing but do thr other lead by example end the free ride.
Legs2 August 07, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Are you saying we should elect a fireman?


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