Sen. Cory Booker might look like he’s prepping for a potential 2020 presidential run, but a recent stop in his home state of New Jersey is part of an effort to focus on the critical midterms – at least for now.
Over the weekend, Booker appeared at multiple speaking events throughout the Garden State, as Democrats battle to keep the seat of ousted Sen. Robert Menendez and vie for congressional control.
“My priority is here,” he said in an interview, according to The New York Times. “My priority is Menendez. My priority is flipping Congress seats at home. So we’re spending a lot of time raising money for folks, which is something that’s really needed. Going to lots of events.”
Booker’s upcoming schedule suggests a broader long-term agenda.
Booker is set to appear at the marquee Democratic fundraising banquet in Iowa on Oct. 6; there, he’ll also be keynote speaker. Later the month he will headline a Democratic event in South Carolina.
The senator has so far campaigned for Democrats in 20 states. He’s made recent appearance on “The Tonight Show” and was profiled in New York magazine last week, saying it would be “irresponsible” of him not to consider a presidential bid.
But nothing has put Booker on the political map quite like his actions during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He made public some documents the panel had kept under wraps, risking potential expulsion from the Senate.
“This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” he said.
Booker tried to silence the 2020 rumors on Saturday – but left room for speculation.
“Is there any chance that you would run for president?” a woman in a parking lot asked the senator, according to The Times.
“I’m honored, but I’m focused on the midterms first,” he said. “I’ll talk to you about it after the election.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.