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Politicians Stay Mum On Booker’s Senate Ambitions As Democrats Scramble To Find Gov. Candidate

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Cory Booker (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment) Sen. Frank Lautenberg (credit:Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Cory Booker (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment) Sen. Frank Lautenberg (credit:Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Late last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker decided against a run for governor against the popular Republican Chris Christie.

Instead, Booker has decided to run for the U.S. Senate, but Sen. Frank Lautenberg has so far not announced any intention to retire.

The state’s junior senator, Robert Menendez, said “I’ll have nothing to say about the U.S. Senate race,” until Lautenberg makes a decision one way or the other.

Menendez told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney that he thinks Booker is a nice guy, but that “has nothing to do with the Senate race. I think you’re a nice guy, too!”

Many Democrats thought Booker would run for governor against Christie after he took a while to decide. Top Democrats in the state gave the popular mayor first right of refusal for the bid for governor.

“To be honest about it, for those four months he kind of sucked the air out of the room for any other candidates,” former governor and state senator Richard Codey told Putney. “To get going, get started, get known and to be able to raise money.”

The delay now has Codey mulling a late run for governor.

Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics associate director John Weingart said Democrats need time to raise money against Christie.

“Even if Booker had never flirted with running, the Democrats would be in a difficult spot now,” he told Putney.

That’s due to Christie’s surging popularity since Superstorm Sandy and his active fundraising.

Who do you like in the governor’s race? What office would you like to see Booker in? Sound off in the comments section below…

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