Friday, November 30, 2012

Newark Mayor Cory Booker's options

By Richard K. Barry 

Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker might have a difficult time unseating Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey, but that's not Booker's only option. Public Policy Polling finds that Democrats in the state prefer Booker over incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) for the Senate seat.  

This doesn't mean they don't like Lautenberg, only that they prefer Booker:

If Lautenberg was to retire -- or even if he doesn't -- the choice of New Jersey Democrats to be their next Senator is clear: Cory Booker. By a 59/22 margin Democrats say they would prefer their candidate in 2014 be Booker than Lautenberg. And Booker emerges as the strong favorite in an open seat situation too. 48% would want Booker as their candidate compared to 17% for Rob Andrews and 13% for Frank Pallone, both Congressmen who have shown an interest in moving up.

Booker would be even stronger than Lautenberg in a head to head match up with Guadagno, leading her 52 to 29. 48% of New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Booker to only 20% with a negative one. He's very popular with Democrats (60/13) and independents (45/21) and even comes close to breaking even with Republicans at 29/34. In the match up with Guadagno he takes 21% of the GOP vote while losing only 7% of Democrats, and wins independents by an 18 point margin.

The U.S. Senate is not exactly a bad gig and it might just be a good idea to leave Chris Christie alone, much as I'd love someone to take him down.

As for Lautenberg, at 88 he is the oldest current senator, which would make him 91 at the start of his next term if he were to be re-elected. Having said that, he recently dismissed retirement rumors through a spokesman who said:

Senator Lautenberg has a lot of work to do in the Senate rebuilding New Jersey after Sandy struck and retirement is the last thing on his mind.

I guess Booker can have the seat, but he may have to crawl over some really old guy to get it. Not an attractive thought.

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