Cory Booker's campaign travel fuels speculation

Cory Booker's campaign travel fuels speculation

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in July at a news conference. (Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The existing midterm election cycle is a long strange trip for NJ Sen. Cory Booker. Because the start of this past year, Booker has been planing a trip to campaign with respect to a lot more than 25 of his fellow Democrats in 19 states.

“I believe this may be, and I’m including presidential election years — Hillary had me everywhere — but that is probably one of the most intense travel of my entire life,” Booker said within an interview with Yahoo News the other day.

Booker is probably the more high-profile Democrats in the Senate and is regularly referred to as a respected contender for the White House in 2020. Given the presidential speculation, most of Booker’s moves, particularly campaign travel, are scrutinized as potential steps toward a run. However, Booker’s trips up to now haven’t hit the most obvious spots for a presidential launch.

Other Democrats rumored to possess eyes on the race have already visited early primary states. While Booker has been all around the map, he so far hasn’t visited the three early primary states that might be decreasing springboards for a presidential bid — Iowa, New Hampshire, and SC. Booker insisted those states aren’t determining his travel plans.

“I’m focusing on a vacation to North Dakota. I’m heading down to Texas. … This is simply not something for me personally planning anything beyond November 2018,” Booker said. “For me personally, this is simply not about ‘swirl.’ That is about unyielding concentrate on November the 6th.”

Booker believes the Democrats have a go at taking back Congress.

“The Democrats have a … better-than-even potential for taking back the home,” Booker said. “I believe that people have an improved chance to get back the Senate than people gave Donald Trump of winning the presidency, so it’s an authentic chance.”

While he’s relatively bullish concerning the party’s chances, Booker knows the chances are against a complete sweep of both houses.

“It’s very uphill, very difficult. It’s likely to have a tremendous Democratic turnout and that’s among the reasons I’m playing around,” Booker said.

In 2017, Booker spent a lot more than two weeks on the highway. This year up to now, Booker has been traveling for a lot more than three weeks, and he’s got plans for additional trips in the months before Election Day in November. And that’s not counting appearances Booker has manufactured in his home state, where he continued his annual tradition of touring all 21 counties and campaigned for candidates including Sen. Bob Menendez, a detailed ally whose reelection Booker referred to as his top focus for the cycle.

Based on numbers supplied by his office, lately July, Booker in addition has raised a lot more than $5 million for federal, state and local candidates of these midterm elections.

While Booker says believes a Democratic takeover of Congress would give a “check and balance” to Trump, he dodged questions about if the Democrats’ plan will include launching impeachment proceedings should they win the home and Senate.

Booker described having a counterbalance to Trump because the “No. 1” thing on the line in the midterm elections.

The Democrats have observed deep divisions because the race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary. The existing election cycle featured several hotly contested primaries, where more traditional Democrats faced off against candidates from the party’s more progressive wing, a few of whom had Sanders’ backing.

When Booker went on the campaign trail, he’s backed hopefuls on both sides of the spectrum. In Maryland, he endorsed Sanders-approved gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. In Virginia, Booker campaigned for Gov. Ralph Northam, who won his race this past year after defeating a primary challenger backed by Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Booker with Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous among others in June 2018. (Photo: Cheryl Diaz Meyer for the Washington Post via Getty Images)

Booker rejects the idea there’s a rift between progressives and much more moderate components of the Democratic Party as “an internal the Beltway dynamic” and “election time divergence” that has been “days gone by.”

“We’ve been a big-tent party,” Booker says.

As examples, Booker cited a few of his Democratic Senate colleagues, including two of the party’s more conservative members, Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp, and some with an increase of progressive reputations, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren. Booker described this spectrum as “healthy for the party.”

Though Booker has stumped for candidates from both wings of the Democratic Party, he’s got avoided weighing in on the more contentious primaries. Instead of involving himself in these intra-party disputes, Booker has generally backed candidates only once they secured the Democratic nomination.

That means Booker hasn’t been on the winning side of a set of recent upsets by New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Florida gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum, a set of progressives who defeated more mainstream challengers.

“I simply have a rule to remain out of primaries as best when i are able to,” Booker said. “This is simply not about me attempting to pick favorites in the Democratic Party, and, frankly, I believe the national party should let many of these things play out.”

But Booker said he’s “thrilled” by Gillum’s victory, and he lauded Ocasio-Cortez as “a 28-year-old powerhouse star.”

Booker says there’s the opportunity for “a 50-state straight Democratic stretch.” Achieving that long-shot goal is area of the reason a lot of his campaign stops have been around in states which are hardly blue strongholds including Mississippi, Arizona, Montana, and Alabama.

So far, Booker has avoided the first primary states that might be probably to fuel 2020 campaign rumors, but he’s got made stops in key presidential election battlegrounds like Ohio, Florida and Nevada. Booker also admitted he’s got invitations to Iowa, New Hampshire and SC, and he wouldn’t eliminate visiting them soon.

“Look, we’ve just started obtaining a large amount of invitations to visit those three states,” Booker said. “…I believe we’ve got invitations to visit each and every state aside from Alaska.”

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