Booker enters 2020 Democratic presidential field, heading to NH later this month

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., launched his presidential bid this morning. Booker was pictured here posing with a Democratic activist last month at a house party ex-State Sen. Bette and Elliot Lasky hosted in Nashua.

NEWARK, N.J. — First-term U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., vowed to help "build a country where no one is forgotten" as he announced today (Friday) he would mount a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

A former mayor of Newark, Booker, 49, made his campaign official with tweets and an email sent to supporters early this (Friday) morning. A series of media interviews were to follow, including an appearance on ABC-TV's "The View" near midday.

Campaign officials confirmed Booker would come to New Hampshire two weeks from now during the President's Day weekend. His first trips as a candidate will be first next weekend in Iowa, home of the first caucus, followed by stops days later in South Carolina, scheduled to hold the nation's second primary after the Granite State's in 2020.

"We are better when we help each other," Booker said. "The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country and those who linked arms to challenge and change it."

Booker was the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, winning in a special election in 2013 after the death of Democrat Frank Lautenberg. He then won a full six-year term a year later.

In 2017, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a law that allows Booker and any New Jersey member of Congress to both seek re-election and run in presidential primaries.

"I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame," Booker said.

"It is not a matter of can we. It's a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose."

Since the November election, Booker returned to New Hampshire twice, including for a Manchester celebration of Democratic victories in the mid-term elections. Then-candidate Barack Obama had been the guest speaker for a similar event following the 2006 political season.

In early December, Booker said he would consult with his family over the holiday season and make a final decision about running.

Booker already has on his team of New Hampshire supporters Concord lobbyist Jim Demers, who co-chaired both of Obama's campaigns here.

In the 2018 midterms, Booker's Senate campaign helped raise $170,000 for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire. He's also spoken to and courted New Hampshire Democratic delegates at the past two nominating conventions in 2012 and 2016.

Unlike some Democrats such as fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Booker is starting with a presidential campaign with no exploratory or testing-the-waters phase. His campaign committee is Cory 2020, officials said.

Like some other 2020 primary rivals, Booker has said he will not take money from corporate political action committees or federal lobbyists and opposes so-called super PACs working on behalf of anyone running for President.

A native of Washington, DC., Booker was raised in Harrington Park, N.J. and attended Stanford as an undergraduate and master's degree student, and then Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, followed by Yale Law School.

In 1998 he first won as an upset candidate for a municipal council seat in Newark and became mayor on his second try for the job in 2006.

Booker became in 2017 the first sitting senator to testify in opposition to another when he spoke against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during a confirmation hearing.

While mayor, Booker had a reputation as a political moderate who supported school vouchers.

In the Senate, Booker had one of the most liberal voting records among his colleagues, according to independent organizations that rank members of Congress.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Booker got some national recognition last September for his sharp questioning of U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.