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 7:29 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 8:00 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
Bolivar32114
Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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