Booker, trailing in polls, says early front runners usually don’t cross the finish line 1st

Posted May 12, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, an also-ran in early opinion polls, says the candidates who start off in front usually don’t cross the finish line first.

“This is a race I feel very confident about, not just here in South Carolina, but New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada as well,” Booker, D-N.J., said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “Because to me, these are races where you’re gonna have to earn people’s votes. We know historically the front runners at this far out are often not the people that end up winning those early primaries.”

Booker is seventh in the Real Clear Politics polling average of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates with 2.6 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 41.4 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 14.6 percent.

A recent Monmouth University poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters put him in sixth place with 2 percent, tied with former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Biden led with 36 percent, followed by Sanders with 18 percent.

Booker said he’s not worried about his position versus his rivals.

“I’m a former track guy,” he said. “I get in the blocks. There’s a lot of athletes next to me. I don’t look at the lane to the right or the left. I run my race.”

Nor, he said, will be seek to move ahead by attacking the other candidates.

“I plan on focusing on my record and I’m very proud of that,” he said. “I can’t campaign in a divisive way. I always say you can’t campaign wrong and think you’re going to govern right. I’m governing to unite this country again, to reignite senses of civic grace, a more courageous empathy for one another, so that we can deal with the persistent injustices in our nation.”

While Booker co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare for All plan that envisions eliminating all private insurance in favor of government plan, he called it more of a long-time ideal than an immediate goal.

“I have a clear goal in mind that I share with all Americans, health care as a right,” Booker said. “I think the best way to get there is Medicare for All. I’m also a realist. As a former mayor who got things done who knows that you can’t hold progress hostage for some purity.”

As president, Booker said he would push for more incremental step to expand coverage and lower costs.

“The first thing I’m going to do is to dramatically lower costs for Americans, and expand insurance and create a glide path towards an eventual goal,” he said. “I want to be pushing on a pathway towards getting to everyone having coverage and part of that is going to be Medicare for all who want it.”

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