Three years ago, Cory Booker was a name only familiar to those living in northern New Jersey, but today he stands as one of the leading voices in the Democratic Party without ever having served in a branch of the federal government. With his overwhelming victory over Rush Holt in the New Jersey Senate primary Tuesday night, Booker is the clear favorite for the open Senate seat that will be filled in October. In three years, Booker has done a great deal to bring his name to the national stage. Whether he's running into burning buildings, appearing in comedic videos with Chris Christie, or having Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donate large sums of cash to the city of Newark, Booker has most certainly not remained quiet in his tenure as mayor. If elected Booker could change the entire public perception of the Senate.
A Stanford- and Yale-educated lawyer, Booker began his career as a member of the Newark City Council, and after a failed mayoral campaign in 2002 was elected mayor in 2006. During his tenure as mayor, he has taken great strides to change Newark, first and foremost reducing the violent crime rate and annually presenting a budget that has been lauded by the Government Finance Officers association. He has also retained a favorable public appearance by engaging with his citizens in ways that many of his aged, technologically impaired peers cannot. Booker built a reputation of heroism and favorability by running into a burning building to save a woman, choosing to live in the most dangerous areas of Newark, and helping Newark residents with tasks such as snow shoveling and marriage proposals. He has utilized social networks to connect and bring his name to prominence, and has taken part in numerous publicity stunts to bring awareness to key issues.
Booker’s most famous moment occurred during a May 2012 interview on Meet the Press where he publicly criticized President Barack Obama during his reelection campaign. Although many initially saw this as a grand stumble for a rising star, the incident actually proved that Booker was not a partisan hack, but someone who could comment on legislative affairs with his own opinion.
Coming off a landslide win in the Democratic primary, Booker has a lot going for him in the general election. He has charm, an athletic build, intelligence, eloquence, lots of money, and a straight-talking attitude. If elected, Booker may even have the ability to bridge the gap between an aged and aloof Senate and the country's youth.He is not afraid of, but encourages government transparency. He holds publicity stunts in which he attempts to demonstrate the plight of many Americans, such as his food stamp challenge, in a communicable, understandable, compassionate manner. He gives off the “one of us” vibe. Booker can connect the public to their government while remaining someone who has powerful friends in powerful places, and keeps fighting for his constituents no matter what.
Almost anyone who has seen an interview with Cory Booker, knows that he is destined for greater pursuits, and his Senate election will be the next great stride in his young political career. If elected, Booker will instantly become the face of the Senate. Who knows what he'll be able to achieve on that larger scale?