The Cory Booker President to Senate Pivot

By Fred Snowflack | January 16, 2020

Insider NJ


Cory Booker certainly knows how to pivot.

For months, the Booker camp has been sending out emails to supporters insisting – contrary to reason and fact – that his presidential campaign was alive and well.

Just send Booker a few more dollars and everything would be fine and dandy; that was the message. It seemed not to matter that the senator was now failing to qualify for debates. Ignoring that, the campaign kept on saying that Booker had tons of real people support in Iowa.

And then – it was over.

Booker pulled out of the race on Monday.

Now it was time for that classic political act – a pivot.

Years ago, I briefly had a state government public relations job that really wasn’t for me, but I do remember senior officials saying things like, “We’re going to pivot.”

Up until then, I thought pivoting was a basketball term, as in, move your pivot foot and you’ll be called for traveling.

But in the political world, pivoting seems to mean you stop what you had been doing and – presto – just start doing something else.

On Tuesday, the Booker camp was back with a message that said his work “to make justice and opportunity real for everyone must continue.”

And it added, “That’s why I’m running for reelection to the U.S. Senate.”

Two days later, the Booker campaign distributed another message making sure everyone heard the “exciting news” that Booker is running for reelection as a senator. And it asked recipients to become one of the “founding donors” of Booker’s Senate campaign.

One supposes it’s good to put a failed presidential campaign in your rear-view mirror as quickly as possible, but it still takes some gumption to simply move on to another campaign without breaking a sweat,

A few observations are in order.

One is that Booker technically was running for the Senate at the same time he was seeking the presidency. Keep in mind that the state Legislature passed a bill allowing him to run for both offices at the same time. That was a bit crazy, but it is the essence of politics.

A second observation is that Booker now has to focus on New Jersey after spending just about a year – he launched his presidential campaign Feb. 1 of last year – concentrating on getting to the White House.

The cynicism of Booker’s pivot, notwithstanding, his path to reelection doesn’t seem all that complicated.

Democrats far outnumber Republicans in New Jersey and Booker’s name recognition is pretty good.

And here’s a quiz for you – name the Republicans seeking the GOP’s Senate nomination.

As of now, they are Stuart Meissner, Tricia Flanagan, Hirsh Singh and Rik Mehta.

If there truly is a serious challenger to Booker in that group, it remains to be seen.

And if one surfaces, Booker may have to redefine his message, or in other words, pivot again.

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