In case you were wondering, Democratic Senate candidate and current Newark mayor Cory Booker isn't going to run for president in 2016. He's not even interested in the VP nominee for whoever does get the democratic nod. "Absolutely yes, unequivocally,” Booker told Politico when asked if he'd ruled out vying for a spot on the 2016 presidential ballot. Adding that he was mainly interested in getting to the Senate and serving a six-year term there.
Booker's running to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. He will face his first big test at an August 13 New Jersey special Democratic primary, but many are assuming he'll run away with the Democratic nomination for the October general election. Booker's way ahead in pretty much every primary poll against rival Democrats Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Rush Holt. Plus, he has Oprah in his corner.
But not everyone's assuming the senate seat is Booker's for the taking: Lautenberg's widow has endorsed Pallone, citing her disdain for Booker's "celebrity" factor. Also not helping Booker's favor with the Lautenberg family: before Lautenberg's death, the Newark mayor announced his possible senate run for his late last year. While many were anticipating a possible 2014 retirement for the senator, he hadn't yet made a decision. Still, it looks like Booker's moving ahead under the (reasonable) assumption that the Senate seat is easily in his reach, and isn't interested in signing up for back-to-back campaigns for office.
So why did Politico ask Booker about 2016 in the first place, if he seems so set on grabbing the Senate seat? The rumors of a Booker run in 2016 reached a fever pitch a few days ago when it looked like the mayor might speak in Iowa. And speaking in Iowa, as everyone knows, is a political euphemism for running for President. But it turns out that the August speaking engagement wasn't actually happening, and even if it was, the event was a paid gig booked by the University of Iowa (and later cancelled because of Booker's campaign commitments) through his speaking agency. For now, 2016 watchers can probably tick the "no" box on Booker's plans for the race.