Some Democratic insiders suggest that the hyper local political problems that seem to be plaguing Newark Mayor Cory Booker might help the nationally prominent rising star more interested in running for Lieutenant Governor in 2009. Booker, Democrats say, would make a very attractive running mate for Jon Corzine, but could have trouble winning re-election to a second term as Mayor in 2010.
New Jersey will elect a Lt. Governor for the first time next year; the new law provides for gubernatorial candidates to pick their running mates after the primary election. The conventional wisdom is that Corzine will not pick a white male for the post, with Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman and state Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri receiving considerable mention in recent days as an LG candidate.
Booker is said to have eschewed talk of higher office before – there was some discussion of Corzine appointing him to the U.S. Senate after the 2005 election — six months before he won election as Mayor with 75% of the vote. But Booker has lost some of his luster, especially as several City Councilmen and party leaders have broken away from him. While he might be the favorite to win re-election in two years, he is not safe at this time.
By running for Lt. Governor, Booker could avoid the struggles of Newark insider politics — and if he wins, he could position himself as a leading candidate for Governor in 2013, when Corzine would be term-limited.