PERTH AMBOY – At his second stop on a tri-city tour to officially kickoff his re-election bid for U.S. Senate here today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) attempted to draw a clear distinction between his own campaign and that of his competitor, Republican Jeff Bell.
He is not his opponent, Booker argued.
“[Bell] represents the failed politics of the past,” Booker told a crowd of supporters down at the Marina in Perth Amboy. “His central pillar in his campaign is turning American back to the gold standard. This is a Nixon era ideology that has now been relegated as a defunct and defective ideology.”
“It’s time that we don’t turn around and go towards the past,” he added. “It’s time that we as a nation turn towards the future.”
Booker arrived here today with friends and family to launch his fall campaign for a second six-year term in the senate, having first won the seat in a special election against Steve Lonegan last year. He now faces Bell, the tea party-aligned conservative politician and speechwriter who ran for the seat twice before, once in 1978 and again in 1982.
“He has been a lobbyist, he has been a Washington insider,” Booker said. “And I’ll tell you right now — New Jersey does not need more Washington experience up here, actually Washington needs more New Jersey experience down there.”
“New Jersey has a clear choice — to continue politics as usual in Washington, or to start a new way for American that is unified,” he added.
Booker, who began his tour today in Camden in South Jersey and will end it in Garfield in North Jersey later today, offered a long list of milestones reached during his short 10-month term in Washington, from advancing a “prosperity agenda” focused on helping working families in the state to co-sponsoring b-partisan legislation with senators across the aisle like U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Among the priorities on his agenda going forward, he said, is raising the minimum wage, working on student debt relief, and continuing relief to Hurricane Sandy victims.
“This is what I’ve been working on for 10 months — making sure we deliver substantive things to bring back stability to our economy, to help New Jerseyans get a fair shot,” Booker said. “It’s a battle that I’ve bee doing for 10 months and it’s a battle that must continue.”
The event drew out a crowd that included a number of Central Jersey officials, from Middlesex County Democratic chairman Kevin McCabe to Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes to state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) to Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac. Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz introduced Booker under a blistering sun, lauding the senator for working to secure aid for towns like Perth Amboy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“I am so proud that in such a short period of time, Senator Booker has made getting Hurricane Sandy relief a priority,” Diaz said.
Also present was Booker’s mother, Carolyn Booker, who spoke about her son’s campaign.
“We have made progress,” Mrs. Booker said, “but Cory is the first on to say there’s so much more work to be done.”