Gideon Resnick and Sam Stein, Daily Beast, February 1, 2019
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is joining the increasingly-crowded field of Democrats vying for the presidency in 2020.
The New Jersey Democrat sent an email to supporters on Friday morning announcing his intentions to run for the White House. It included a video and a message emphasizing a unifying, uplifting approach that seems intended as a rhetorical contrast to others in the field.
His committee, “Cory 2020,” will mirror those of his competitors in rejecting contributions from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists. Booker’s aides say he will oppose Political Action Committees supporting his candidacy, though he’s legally prohibited from preventing a PAC from doing so. Already, a San Francisco-based Democratic donor has formed a pro-Booker PAC and pledged to raise $10 million on his behalf.
A 49-year-old long-serving public official, Booker will be the second African-American senator in the presidential race, alongside his colleague Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). His launch, an aide said, was timed, in part, to coincide with the first day of Black History Month. And among the first media appearances Booker will make after declaring on Friday will be appearances on two radio programs with massive African-American audiences: the Tom Joyner Morning Show and The Black Eagle with Joe Madison.
Booker has long been the subject of skepticism from the party’s progressives for his prior acceptance of Wall Street and Silicon Valley money. He was the Senate’s top recipient of Wall Street money in the 2014 election cycle and has worked with both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on education. Booker served with the latter on the board of Alliance for School Choice, which advocated using taxpayer money for charter schools. But as Senator, he voted against Devos’ nomination.
Booker has established progressive bonafides on criminal and social justice issues. He introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana and expunge federal marijuana convictions and has spoken forcefully about the inequalities inherent in the U.S. legal infrastructure.