The matter of who will fill deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg's seat in Congress has been a hotly debated topic lately, particularly since the Democrat majority in the Senate is hanging by a thread. They can't afford to lose this seat.
Saturday afternoon, surprising absolutely no one, Newark mayor Cory Booker formally announced his candidacy for the Senate seat, throwing his hat into an already-crowded ring.
Booker has been talking about a potential Senate run for months in the media now. At one point earlier this year, Lautenberg himself got so fed up with Booker's constant remarks about wanting to run that he gave his own statement to the press. Lautenberg said stating that he was not vacating his seat and that in so eagerly positioning himself for the Senate, Booker was being so "disrepectful," he deserved a "spanking."
But Booker's political ambitions aren't all hot air. As mayor of Newark, he's implemented some controversial but effective measures. His main goal in his first term was to decrease crime, and he has done so spectacularly. Newark actually saw its first murder-free month this year for the first time in 44 years. He also takes a very hands-on approach in his politics, holding open office hours to meet with citizens and even responding to Twitter requests. He has shoveled an old man's driveway, helped a young man propose to his girlfriend, and even rescued a woman from her burning house. To many people, Booker isn't just a mayor, he's a hero.
Still, the Senate seat itself is a while away. First, Booker must win the Democratic primary in August against fellow New Jersey Democrats Rush Holt and Frank Pallone. Booker is the current front-runner but polls this early in the race could easily change. In addition, both of Booker's opponents have large campaign accounts and long-standing ties to the New Jersey democratic base, which Booker can occasionally clash with. Both of those factors will play against Booker, but if he wins the Democratic primary, the special election itself should be a breeze.