Booker on Rice re-election challenge: ‘I have heard nothing about it’

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Easily winning re-election earlier this year and then tangling with a bruising, enervating city budget, Newark Mayor Cory Booker appears to be opting for education over politics, and tweeting slogans that sound more like Ayn Rand than a calculating Talleyrand. 

Three years ago, Booker tag-teamed with North Ward leader Steve Adubato in legislative elections in what was ultimately an unsuccessful effort to bury his old nemesis, state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) in the 28th District.

Now Booker radiates no will to challenge the veteran legislator from the west ward, or even to play in politics.

“I dont know,” the mayor told PolitickerNJ.com, when asked if he intends to get behind a primary challenger to Rice.

“I have head nothing about it, there’s nothng I’m looking to do,” he added, a day after presiding over the grim task of 167 police layoffs. “I haven’t even thought about it.”

While showing no streak of ill will toward Rice, he made clear his happiness with the 29th District incumbents: state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), Assemblyman Albert Coutinho and Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer.

“Sen. Ruiz is of the better senators in the State of New Jersey, who has been a partner and friend,” Booker said. “Grace is an extraordinary leader and so is Assemblyman Coutinho. 

“I think at this point my focus is not on a legislative run,” the mayor added. “I have nothing but good feelings for him (Rice).”

Booker on Rice re-election challenge: ‘I have heard nothing about it’