Why Cory Booker must run for Governor

Interesting convo going on in this diary. Promoted by Rosi

Speculation, rumors, backroom chatter… will Cory Booker run for Governor? Or will he defer?

Much of the speculation centers around his ambitions, whether he could win, his relationship with Governor Christie. Which is fine, if it were any other candidate.

But for the past six years I, like all of you, have listened to Booker’s politics of rectitude. His repeated proclamations that he ran for Mayor of Newark not for political ambition, but for a purpose:

“These people don’t understand what this is about. This is not about a position — it’s about a mission, and a city that should be so much further along than it is.”

I am not questioning his statements nor his intentions. In fact I support him, I trust him.

But it is time for the Honorable Mayor to put up.

This is not about a position — it’s about a mission, and a state that should be so much further along than it is. This is also about Newark.

The Cory Booker brand of politics, the mantra we have heard a million times over for the past six years demands he run for Governor.

New Jersey does not need him in the Senate. It will take decades for him to build up any real clout. And there are many well placed alternatives who share his priorities who have a good chance of winning the seat. The only real purpose such a move would have was for his personal ambitions – building a profile on national issues, perhaps following the Obama path to a potential presidential run.

New Jersey needs him as Governor. All the challenges he has been working to solve in Newark – high unemployment, how to do more with less, creative governance – are needed on a state-wide level. Plus Newark needs a Governor who will work with the next Mayor to keep his vision alive.

On the issues he professes to care about – education, marriage-equality, urban renewal – he can have a much bigger impact as a chief executive.

The need for a strong candidate to beat a Governor whose policies have taken New Jersey down the wrong path is here. There is a purpose here, a mission here, an election here.

All of us who listened to Cory’s speechifying and actually believed in his words, we are here.

Cory, you owe us a run for Governor.

We do not always get to pick our battles. Cory, your battle is waiting, it is time to fight for New Jersey. It is time to run for Governor.

“Many are called, but few are chosen.”

Comments (48)

  1. Bill W

    …teachers would be strongly motivated to work for a Booker victory?  And could he win without them?

  2. Bertin Lefkovic

    …if Booker runs for Governor next year.  Aside from when he lost to Sharpe James in 2006, Booker has never run in an election where he was evenly-matched or the underdog and with the stakes as high as they are right now for him, I do not think that he is going to risk the possibility that his political ambitions could be stymied in what would undoubtedly be a tough race against Christie.

    New Jersey might not need Booker in the Senate, but the Senate is undoubtedly the path of least resistance for Booker and that is all that matters to him.  I do not think that Frank Lautenberg is going to run for re-election in 2014 and Booker will be much stronger than anyone the Republicans run against him unless Romney wins in November, Christie wins a year later, and Christie decides to run for the Senate a year after that “for the good of the party”.

    Otherwise, the strongest competitor that Booker could draw is Tom Kean Jr., who would have a hard time winning a Republican primary election against Michael Doherty or whomever the batshitcrazy teabagging wingnuts run against him and will be mortally wounded by the time Booker finishes him off in the fall.

    If Christie wins next year, Booker is more likely to run for Governor in 2017.  If he wins then and wins re-election in 2021, he would be perfectly positioned to run for President in 2024.  That is far more likely than running against Christie next year, because if he loses to Christie, he will have no choice but to run for re-election in Newark in 2014 and be a very vulnerable incumbent.

    Your thesis is based on Cory Booker being selfless and he is anything but that.

  3. sayitaintso

    and why is it progressive?

    I’m genuinely interested.  

  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    A wall street water carrying, voucher loving, buddy of Christie.

    I’ll pass.  And I hope he does as well.

  5. firstamend07

    All scenarios begin with him winning this November.

    If he wins Christie will run and win. Booker or no Booker ,Christie will win. The Democrats next year will be fighting to maintain control of the State Senate and Assembly.

    Christie will have no coattails in 2013.

    Then the fun begins. The battle to get ” ol Frank out of the Senate. Booker or Sweeney will get the nod with the other getting in position to run for Governor in 2017.

    Christie will leave office in 2014 to start his run for President,leaving the GOP in New Jersey in shambles. A Christie-less Republican Party in NJ is toothless.

    A second term of Christie will not be draconian. He will be looking for simple success and will not want to be embarrassed nationally by being beaten down by a Democratic Legislature. Plus he will only be around for about 18-24 months.

    Progressives need to back the right horse ,or horses, in the Democratic Party so they can get their issues heard.

    Forget aboutthe Buono’s and Codey’s and follow the lead of Senator Weinberg.

    Progressives got to ” get into the room” .

  6. jackstanton (Post author)

    So much of this faux progressive outrage sounds like a broken record… we get it, Cory did not act EXACTLY as you would like.

    But then what? How about his voice on gay-marriage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    planned parenthood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    and any number of issues!

    How about his unrivaled record as Mayor of Newark?

    His appeal with independents and 8-1 favorability: http://www.northjersey.com/new

    He is putting New Jersey Democrats on the map and he can take this state back from the depths of Christiedom!

  7. curiousjersey

    For Booker Supporters:  ARE YOU CRAZY?

    A vote for Booker is a 100% guarantee that his BFF, Chris Cerf, remains as Commissioner of Education!

  8. firstamend07

    Be serious with these two. Both would lose BIG!

    Progressives better wake up before they are once again left behind.

    Support someone who at least has a chance of winning. I personally do not believe Booker has the stomach for a run against Christie ,but he at least might have a chance should he get some guts.

    Listening to just teacher issues is getting pretty old. There are other issues in this State. Plus,just like state workers, teachers NEVER vote as a block. Teacher issues or state worker issues will not be the main focus of the election in 2013.

    The Democrats MUST nominate a moderate to even think about beating Christie. Forget about Buono( too left) and Codey( he had his chance).

    A new ” ballsy” Booker? Maybe a shot at Christie. Otherwise make sure we win the Assembly and Senate so that we do not have a Walker situation in New Jersey.  

  9. Bertin Lefkovic

    As I have written elsewhere, I do not believe that Cory Booker is going to run for Governor next year, because the risk to his long-term political ambitions would just be too great.  The only reason that I could be wrong about this is if Booker has received promises, which he would be crazy to accept at face value, from Norcross et al that the full force of their political machines would be applied to help him defeat Christie next year, which would put the relationship that they have with Christie and all of the benefits that they receive from it at risk.

    I think that the most likely establishment candidates are going to be Chris Bollwage and John Wisniewski and the most likely insurgent candidates are going to be Barbara Buono and Dick Codey.  If Buono is committed to run, I do not think that Codey will run as well as I do not think that he would be willing to risk splitting anti-establishment votes.  While the Democratic establishment (Norcross et al and their acolytes) will undoubtedly get behind Bollwage or Wisniewski against Buono or Codey, I believe that they view both as Peter Shapiroesque sacrificial lamb candidates and will not risk their relationship with Christie by applying the full power

    It is clear from this conversation that there are some progressives who believe that Booker is sufficiently progressive to be the Democratic standard-bearer against Christie while others here who don’t.  On this question, I lean more towards those who are OK with his progressive bona fides than those who don’t, because if I am wrong and he does run, it is unlikely that someone more progressive will run against him as I do not see Buono or Codey risking the end of their political careers to take him on.

    However, if I am right about Booker not running, Bollwage and Wisniewski being sacrificial lambs, and Buono having a very hard time winning a Democratic primary election against either Bollwage or Wisniewski and a general election against Christie, is there a compromise candidate who would be willing to do business with the bosses AND be trusted by progressives to do the right thing on their important issues of concern?  While I have never been a big fan of Bob Menendez, I do think that he is probably the only prospective gubernatorial candidate who could get the blessing of both insiders and outsiders, especially if he is able to flex some GOTV muscle this November and get more votes in NJ than Barack Obama.

    In the same way that Menendez was able to play a major role in negotiating an end to the last North-South civil war in the Democratic Party, following the 2001 election of then-Governor-elect Jim McGreevey and the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Senate, which saw Dick Codey become Senate President, Albio Sires become Assembly Speaker, and Joe Roberts become Assembly Majority Leader, it is conceivable that he could negotiate a cease-fire that would enable disaffected Democrats like Buono, Codey, Joe Cryan, Reed Gusciora, and Bonnie Watson Coleman to return to the fold.

    If Menendez was able to defeat Christie and Frank Lautenberg retires at the end of his current term, Steve Sweeney would most likely be appointed to replace Menendez and would run for re-election in 2014 to complete the remainder of Menendez’s term, while Booker would most likely run for a full-term in the same year.  This would create an opening for either Dick Codey to return to the Senate Presidency or for Loretta Weinberg to become the state’s first female and first Jewish Senate President with Codey becoming Senate Majority Leader.  Louis Greenwald would become Assembly Speaker, John Wisniewski would become Assembly Majority Leader, and Joe Cryan could move up to the State Senate if Ray Lesniak does not run for re-election next year.  Reed Gusciora could be chosen to become the next NJDSC Chair, which could give progressives more of a voice in how the Democratic Party operates going forward.

    Another possible by-product of a Menendez victory over Christie in 2013 is that he could become the same kind of overnight rock-star in the national Democratic Party that Christie became in the national Republican Party after he defeated Jon Corzine in 2009, which could give him the opportunity to run for President as early as 2016 and enable a LG Buono to become Governor Buono if he won.  Before anyone dismisses the possibility of Menendez becoming President, I have one word for you.


    I am not writing this to make an argument for a Menendez for Governor candidacy, much less a Menendez for President candidacy as much as I am curious to see if the same people who are hostile towards a Booker for Governor candidacy are more or less hostile to Menendez.


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