The Democratic presidential field continues to expand with the announcement on Feb. 1 by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey that he would join the campaign.
Booker declared he would seek the Democratic nomination in Newark, where he served as the city’s mayor for two terms.
“My record as a mayor, my record as a senator is fighting those interests that are trying to screw people,” Booker toldoutside his home on Friday. “And when it comes to defending folk, I will be ferocious.”
Booker, 49, has steadily built a national identity. He played college football at Stanford, got his law degree from Yale and in 2006 was elected Mayor of Newark – a city with a population that had been declining for many years.
On LGBT issues Booker has become a strong advocate.
Booker was elected New Jersey’s junior senator in 2013, becoming the state’s first ever African American U.S. senator. He visitedin the summer of 2016 for a leadership gala organized by state Democratic party officials. Speaking at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Booker said “we are called to be a nation of love.”
Meanwhile, on the Senate’s judiciary committee, Booker asked hard questions of President Trump’s nominees. He got Attorney General Nominee William Barr to voice support for LGBT kids in respect to school bullying and hate crimes. In a different hearing, Booker declared his “I Am Spartacus” moment when discussing the release of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confidential emails from his time as special counsel to former President George W. Bush.
Ken Evans, a longtime Broward County resident and member of the Democratic National Committee, has met Booker on four different occasions.
“He’s always been very cordial and very sincere,” Evans said. “He’s really an exciting candidate.”
Evans said Booker has an “interesting background and history” and is always respectful and certainly, “a friend of the LGBT community.”
“Cory is that American you really admire,” said Evans.
Trump seems to disagree and has wasted no time in attacking Booker.
Evans stopped short of endorsing Booker – per DNC rules – but admitted his candidacy would likely be most appealing to the party’s moderate and progressive voters.
“He has a presence to him,” Evans admitted. “He’s truly a Democrat.”
Booker’s entry into the field gives Democrats more than 10 declared candidates – four of which are U.S. senators. Elder statesmen such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are all mulling a run. Evans said it would take a “very unique person” to absorb the pressure, criticism and scrutiny of a national campaign.
“Biden can handle that,” Evans said. “I hope Cory has the temperament to roll with that.”
Marianne Williamson, Oprah’s “spiritual advisor,” launched a long shot bid for the presidency last week as well. Williamson is also an author and activist. In 2014 she ran for the House of Representatives in California, coming in fourth place with 13.2 percent of the vote. One policy position she’s proposing is $100 billion in reparations for slavery.
“I believe $100 billion given to a council to apply this money to economic projects and educational projects of renewal for that population is a debt to be paid,” Williamson said on CNN.
LGBT Politicos of The Week:
1. Shevrin Jones, Florida Representative:The Broward Democrat spoke out following a street attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett. “Our hearts are with you during this difficult time,” Jones posted in a video on Facebook. “America we need to start having conversations with each other again, because truth is, we are more similar than we are different.”
2. Jane Castor, Candidate for Tampa Mayor:The former Chief of Police won endorsements from Equality Florida’s Action Pac and the LGBTQ Victory Fund in her campaign for Tampa’s mayor. Joe Saunders, EQFL senior political director, called Castor “a breakthrough moment in the movement for LGBTQ representation in Florida.”