Cory Booker won't run against Chris Christie

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TRENTON -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker, perhaps New Jersey's highest-profile Democrat, has ruled out a bid for governor next year and is eyeing a run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

The decision, announced yesterday on Twitter, means Booker has decided against a possible campaign against Republican Gov. Chris Christie. But depending on how things play out, he could find himself in a Democratic primary race against Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who is 88 and declined to talk yesterday about his political future.

Booker's announcement alters the landscape for both races, and for politics in Newark, the state's largest city, where his term runs through June 2014.

"Let there be no doubt, I will complete my full second term as mayor," Booker said in a statement posted on Facebook and linked to on Twitter. "As for my political future, I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014."

But with nearly 23 months to go before that election, there is plenty of doubt about it -- including whether Lautenberg intends to run and whether Booker would pursue the seat even if Lautenberg does too.

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Lautenberg's spokesman, Caley Gray, said in a statement that the senator is concentrating now on recovery from superstorm Sandy and on gun control laws. "This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year," Gray said.

-- AP

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