2020 watch

Booker bows out of 2020 race

Cory Booker

Mark C. Olsen

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker addresses family, friends, elected officials, and New Jersey National Guard leadership during the farewell ceremony for more than 180 New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers from Alpha and Charlie Companies, 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, at the Prudential Center, Newark, N.J., Feb. 4, 2019.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) ended his bid for the Democratic nomination for president on Monday, citing a lack of financial resources and his need to be in D.C. during the Trump impeachment process as hurdles to winning the nomination. 

Why it matters: With only three weeks until the Iowa caucuses, Booker’s departure leaves a significant number of endorsements, organizers and staff up for grabs. These could prove crucial in determining the winner of a tight and still-crowded race. Asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday evening, Booker said he did not know if he would endorse any candidate.

Above the fray: David Magerman, who left the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies after a publicized dispute with then-CEO Robert Mercer over the latter’s support for Trump, was an early supporter of Booker’s candidacy. “I love that he talks about God, and that he’s a positive campaigner, not willing to denigrate his opponents personally,” Magerman told JI last summer. In a letter to supporters, Booker said he didn’t regret his positive approach. “I’m proud I never compromised my faith in these principles during this campaign to score political points or tear down others. And maybe I’m stubborn, but I’ll never abandon my faith in what we can accomplish when we join together,” he wrote. 

Unity plea: On Monday, Magerman welcomed Booker’s departure. “I think Booker dropping out was long overdue,” Magerman told Jewish Insider. “I wish more of the candidates who have no chance to win would drop out, and I wish the Democrats would get smart and align behind an electable candidate. Wishful thinking, of course.”

Ben Choauke, president of N.J.-based NORPAC, tells JI: “Cory Booker is a well-known national politician who was running in a busy field of candidates — some even better known than he was. He is still young and has time to do this again. This election cycle he had trouble finding a unique niche that was attractive to the electorate… People have in the past been inspired by his personal courage. He has that, and if he just lets that flow into more political courage, that will make him more distinct and more genuine which will make him worthy of higher national leadership.” 

2020 ranking: Magerman pointed to Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg as his favorite current contenders. “I’m most excited about Amy Klobuchar. She seems like the most moderate and sensible of the remaining candidates,” he explained. Bloomberg, he said, would be the most electable nominee. “I think Bloomberg is a strong alternative who could beat Trump if the party would rally around him, but he is pretty enigmatic, by design,” Magerman stated.

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.