SPOTLIGHT

Booking It to the Top

Cory Booker enters a crowded field with a background as unique as they come.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
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Kyle Trygstad
Feb. 1, 2019, 9:53 a.m.

Sen. Cory Booker enters a presidential race headlined by front-running colleagues capable of overshadowing him, but the New Jersey Democrat has one of the most unique backgrounds of anyone in the field.

He launched a generational battle long before Pete Buttigieg, a fellow Rhodes Scholar, came around. He took on the establishment both in Newark’s City Hall and by exploring a run for the Senate before Frank Lautenberg could announce his retirement.

Booker, who turns 50 in April, has also infuriated some liberals with his ties to the New York-area financial sector, and his significant expansion of charter schools in his city has invited criticism from fellow Democrats.

He skyrocketed to stardom in a documentary about his mayoral race and moving into a housing project, through stories of comic-book-style heroics, and as perhaps the first elected official to utilize Twitter to interact constructively with constituents.

He’s been a top-requested surrogate since entering the Senate in 2013 and is a draw regardless of the state. We’ll see if that translates to his own national campaign.

-- Kyle Trygstad

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