Booker Books a 2014 Senate Race

Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey:

Magnet for Wall Street money.

Scooper-upper of imperiled neighbor in a burning apartment.

Now, filer of Federal Election Commission Form 1, “Statement of Organization,” to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

Cory Booker, 44, is officially going after the seat of 88-year-old Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, potentially setting up a primary race in a state that hasn’t sent a Republican to the upper house since 1972. Campaign paperwork names as treasurer Judith Zamore, who was compliance director for Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown’s successful U.S. Senate run in 2006. Zamore now is a principal for Capitol Compliance Associates, a Washington-based campaign-finance consultancy.

Booker didn’t immediately return an e-mail for comment. Lautenberg hasn’t said whether he will seek another term, and a spokesman, Caley Gray, didn’t immediately return an e-mail.

Booker’s filing comes three weeks after he dashed the hopes of New Jersey Democrats by declining a 2013 gubernatorial run against Republican Chris Christie, whose record approval in public-opinion polls after Hurricane Sandy basically makes him the most popular guy ever in New Jersey, politician or otherwise. Only one Democrat, state Sen. Barbara Buono from Metuchen, has declared a candidacy against Christie, and she was 43 points behind him in a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released Jan. 8.

A Booker-Lautenberg primary would have the youth-vs.-wisdom overtones of California’s Brad Sherman-Howard Berman contest for Congress in November, the result of redistricting that left the Democratic veterans fighting for a single seat. Sherman, the younger, prevailed. In New Jersey, Booker led Lautenberg by 42 percent to 20 percent among Democrats and Democratic leaners, PublicMind found in its survey released Jan. 10.

Booker, an Oxford Scholar who has degrees from Stanford and Yale Law, has persuaded Wall Street hedge-fund founders to sink private money into redeveloping Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, where a years-long industrial decline was capped by race riots more than 40 years ago. Single and childless, he lives alone in one of Newark’s most violent-prone areas. In April 2012, he ran into a neighbor’s burning apartment, rescuing her and suffering minor burns and smoke inhalation.

 

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