New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday paved way for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a fellow Democrat, to simultaneously run for both U.S. Senate and the presidency in 2020.
The governor signed a bill that many now call “Cory’s Law” that allows any member of the U.S. House or Senate from New Jersey to run for those offices in addition to pursuing the White House.
Booker, who recently made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire in hopes of building nationwide support, is expected to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination two years from now.
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Some had questioned whether Booker could run for president and seek re-election to the Senate as well. Democrats argued that he could, but admitted that New Jersey’s laws were vague on the issue.
Republicans, meanwhile, said Booker should enter one race at the time. State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, a Republican, taunted Booker just before voting for the measure in the New Jersey Legislature.
“Spartacus had the courage to make decisions,” Cardinale said, according to Politico, referring to Booker’s widely mocked “Spartacus moment” episode during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “He ain’t no Spartacus.”
While the new law signed by Murphy doesn’t directly mention Booker, it is designed to clarify his exact potential predicament — ensuring that nobody in the state can challenge a dual Booker candidacy in court.
“No provision of [state election law], or of any other law, rule, or regulation shall be interpreted as to prevent a person from accepting a nomination by petition” to run for the presidency, vice presidency and House or Senate at the same time, the new law reads.
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“I think it was clear, but this was just to stop any lawsuits to slow him down,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said Monday, according to Politico.
“Realize, also, we don’t have a primary [filing deadline] until April. And normally we have a pretty good idea of who the candidate’s going to be by then,” he added.
The Republicans, meanwhile, accused the Democrats of showing “the depths of their duplicity,” noting that the Democrats tried to block then-Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, from running for president and governor at the same time, the outlet reported.