NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker said Sunday that it was “premature” to say definitively that he will run for a U.S. Senate seat next year.

Speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press, Booker confirmed he has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that allows him to raise money for a Senate campaign. But he told show host David Gregory the filing was a procedural step that had to be done so he could legally explore the possibility of running.

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If Booker does run, he would be seeking the seat now held by 88-year-old fellow Democrat Frank Lautenberg, who has not given any indication that he wants to retire.

“There’s going to be a big push to have Sen. Lautenberg step aside for whoever it may be that decides to run in 2014, but it’s not clear that Frank Lautenberg will accept that rationale,” Patrick Murray, Director of Monmouth University Polling Institute, said last month. “Here’s a guy who I think wants to die with his boots on. So it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.”

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Booker, perhaps New Jersey’s highest-profile Democratic politician, last month turned down party leaders who wanted to see him challenge incumbent Gov. Chris Christie in this year’s gubernatorial election.

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