Can anyone stop Cory Booker in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race?

Octogenarian Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) isn't running for re-election in 2014, seemingly leaving the door wide open for Newark's notable mayor

A shoo-in?
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), the 89-year-old senior senator from New Jersey, might be declining to run for re-election in 2014 because he'll be 91 at the time. Or it could be he announced his pending retirement late Thursday because the polls suggest he would lose a costly Democratic primary fight to popular, almost super-heroic Newark Mayor Cory Booker. In December, Booker said he was "considering" running for the seat, fueling speculation and raising the ire of Lautenberg and other New Jersey Democrats.

Of course, the 2014 voting is a year-and-a-half away — a point Lautenberg made when tipping the news to The Star-Ledger on Thursday: "I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey." But at this point, Booker is looking like a pretty good bet. A Monmouth University Polling Institute survey released Thursday, before Lautenberg's announcement, showed Booker trouncing all rivals for the 2014 race, garnering 40 percent support to 25 percent for Lautenberg and single digits for every other Democrat. As for Republicans, the only one who's speculatively thrown his hat in the ring is Geraldo Rivera.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.