Sen. Booker in Iowa amid 2020 speculation

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was in Iowa rallying discouraged Democrats to stay faithful amid speculation he could be a 2020 presidential contender.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 8:43 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 9:00 AM

Setting foot on Iowa soil for the first time as a possible presidential contender, Sen. Cory Booker urged Democrats discouraged by Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court to "stay faithful" in defeat and rally to action in the upcoming midterm elections.

The New Jersey Democrat was the headliner Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party's major annual fundraiser, where he hoped to make a positive first impression on more than 1,000 Iowa donors and activists who will hold considerable sway in the state's caucuses as he weighs running for president in 2020.

"I see the pain and the hurt, but I want to remind everyone here in this room tonight, full of fellowship, this room full of faith, that this is a time in our country when we need to stay faithful," Booker said.

Hours earlier, Booker was in Washington as the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh — the culmination of "one of the more painful experiences I've had as an elected leader," Booker told reporters later in the evening.

But Booker's "Spartacus moment" opposing Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings also won him acclaim within the Democratic Party, and national buzz, just in time for his Iowa debut.

With his mother and other family members looking on from the audience, Booker delivered remarks that bore some signatures of a stump speech. Booker dove deep into his biography, including a nod to his own Iowa ties (his maternal grandmother hailed from Des Moines). Meanwhile, he issued sharp rebukes of President Donald Trump and his vision for America, and brought the crowd to its feet multiple times as he urged Democrats to fight back.

"This is not a time to curl up. It is not a time to shut up. It is not a time to give up," Booker said. "It's a time to get up. It's a time to speak up."

Booker's message resonated with Juanita Williams, of Waterloo, Iowa, who said the crowd "needed to hear what he had to say tonight."

"Some of us feel like this is a rock-bottom moment, and we have to feel like there's hope," she said.

Williams caucused for Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 and said she is "hoping he and Elizabeth Warren are a ticket" in 2020, referring to the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. But Booker was "one of the best" speakers she has listened to in years of attending this particular Democratic Party fundraiser, she said, and she "would certainly give him a good look" should he run for president.

Booker has made no secret of his interest in a possible presidential bid in 2020. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, he said, "Of course the presidency will be something I consider. It would be irresponsible not to."

Trump now frequently cites Booker as a likely rival. During a rally Saturday evening in Topeka, Kansas, Trump called out Booker as one of his possible 2020 challengers, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Warren. And Trump raised the New Jersey senator's record as Newark mayor during a press conference Monday at the White House.

"Take a look at Cory Booker," Trump said. "He ran Newark, New Jersey, into the ground. He was a horrible mayor. And he made statements that when he was in high school or college, what he was doing — he actually made the statements. And now he's talking about Judge Kavanaugh."

Speaking to reporters in Des Moines, Booker attempted to shrug off the President's remarks.

"I have nothing personal against this president, if he wants to attack me personally he can," Booker said. "If he wants to attack my record, the reality is that the people of the state of New Jersey who elected me statewide are very proud of the work that I did, the change that we made in Newark, the transformation going on in our city."

"This is not about the President. This is not about me," Booker added. "I will never let him pull me so low as to hate him. I'm going to continue to be a voice in this country for love, for bringing the nation together, not driving the nation apart."

Meanwhile, Booker sidestepped questions about his 2020 intentions, joking about his fitness when one reporter asked if he's running.

"I do need to get in shape, so I'll probably go jogging here in Iowa in the morning," Booker chuckled, before adding, "No, in all seriousness, we're here to focus on the elections that are coming up in 31 days."

On Monday and Tuesday, Booker will hit the campaign trail in Iowa at a series of events for Democrats up and down the ballot, with plans to visit each of the state's four congressional districts.

Other possible top-tier Democratic contenders, including Biden and Warren, have to date steered clear of visiting the Hawkeye State.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
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Monroe8933105
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Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
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Jackson410145
Shelby394376
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Clinton359838
Gibson348556
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
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Mahoning16430334
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Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
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Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
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Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
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Meigs99021
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Morgan75826
Vinton64013
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