Cory Anthony Booker (born April 27, 1969) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey since 2013 and a member of the Democratic Party. The first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey, he was previously the 36th Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013. Before that, Booker served on the Municipal Council of Newark for the Central Ward from 1998 to 2002. On February 1, 2019, he announced his campaign to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election.
Booker was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Harrington Park, New Jersey. He attended Stanford University, where he received a BA in 1991 and then a master’s degree a year later. He studied abroad at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, before attending Yale Law School. He won an upset victory for a seat on the Municipal Council of Newark in 1998, where he staged a 10-day hunger strike and briefly lived in a tent to draw attention to urban development issues in the city. He ran for mayor in 2002, but lost to incumbent Sharpe James; he ran again in 2006 and won against deputy mayor Ronald Rice. His first term saw to the doubling of affordable housing under development and the reduction of the city budget deficit from $180 million to $73 million. He was re-elected in 2010. He ran against Steve Lonegan in the 2013 U.S. Senate special election and subsequently won reelection in 2014 against Jeff Bell.
As senator, his voting record was measured as the third most liberal. Considered a social liberal, Booker supports women’s rights, affirmative action, same-sex marriage and single-payer healthcare. During his five years in office, Booker co-sponsored and voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (2013), tougher sanctions against Iran, sponsored the Bipartisan Budget Act (2013), voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (2014), co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act (2014) and led the successful push to pass the First Step Act (2018). In 2017, he became the first sitting senator to testify against another when he testified against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing. In April 2018, following the FBI raid on the offices of Michael Cohen–U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney–Booker together with Chris Coons, Lindsey Graham, and Thom Tillis, introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to limit the executive powers of President Trump.