Speculation about Newark Mayor Cory Booker's political future swirled Friday following a report that he was telling state party chairs that he is mulling a gubernatorial run against Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.
Booker disputed the report on WGBO's "Newark Today" on Thursday night, saying he is canvassing the state as co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee's platform committee and working to re-elect President Barack Obama. Booker will present the party's platform in a speech at the Democratic National Convention next month.
There will be "a lot of things to consider" after the presidential election, Booker said.
A possible gubernatorial run is "being asked by me by a lot of folks, and again my response is that those decisions have to wait," Booker said, adding he is focused on Newark and Obama's re-election.
A spokeswoman for Booker had no comment Friday on the report.
The report Thursday on politickernj.com said Booker and his political consultant, Mark Matzen, are conducting meetings with party chairs to inform them that Booker may want to be governor.
Louis Stellato, chairman of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County, said Booker has not told him about any potential gubernatorial aspirations.
"You hear rumors all the time that he might be running for governor, he might be running for senator," Stellato said. "He is a rock star in the Democratic party. He polls very well and he has virtually celebrity status."
Jim Schroeder, chairman of the Atlantic County Democratic Committee, said he was "surprised" to read the report and has not been contacted by Booker, but he is "encouraged" that the mayor may be considering jumping into the governor's race.
"I'm hopeful that we get the strongest possible candidate to run next year against Gov. Christie," Schroeder said.
Charlotte De Fillipo, chairwoman of the Union County Democratic Committee, said that while Booker is a friend, the two have not met to discuss his political future. Booker is, however, one of the candidates she would like to see challenge Christie.
"He has the ability to raise money. He certainly has the intellect and the drive. Those are requisites," De Fillipo said. "I'm not sure who else will be. It's a long way between now and next year. But he makes an entrancing candidate."
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