Whoever wins in October will have to run again next year for a full term.
Much as the current occupant of the White House once was, the Oxford-educated and social media-adept Booker is often asked about his presidential aspirations.
So what do you need to know about the contest and about Booker, who is young, telegenic, and has celebrity friends (actress Eva Longoria stumped for him Monday)? Is he the party’s flavor of the month, or might he have a national future?
Three items to consider when assessing Booker’s longer-term potential:
If Booker wins, he doesn’t do it with the Lautenberg family’s seal of approval.
Deference to Senator Lautenberg was not foremost on Booker’s mind as he plotted his political future. While Lautenberg was alive, Booker, who has served as mayor since 2006, announced he was exploring a primary bid. The news prompted the senior senator, who hadn’t yet made clear his intention to run or retire, to suggest one form of punishment.
"I have four children; I love each one of them," Lautenberg told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I can't tell you that one of them wasn't occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK."
This summer, the Lautenberg family issued a statement endorsing one of Booker’s Democratic primary rivals, Rep. Frank Pallone (D).