Newark Mayor Cory Booker refuted rumors that he is running for U.S. Senate and said unequivocally he would remain mayor of Newark.
"For now, I will remain the mayor of Newark for the next three years," he told Patch in an exclusive interview Wednesday night. "Some people may have heard that because of the creation of CoryPAC, but in fact that was created to help support the city of Newark on the federal level."
The speculations over Booker's future went into overdrive this week when it was revealed that Booker filed papers to form a PAC with the FEC. The organization, CoryPAC, which is chaired by Bari Mattes, a former municipal employee and Booker adviser, was filed Monday, according to the five-page report.
Earlier in the afternoon Wednesday, NJ.com/The Star-Ledger reported that Booker may be eyeing a run at the U.S. Senate. But Patch's source, who is in Booker's inner circle, said the account was unreliable. The source said the Booker camp had to reassure staffers from U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's office that nothing is going on.
The 42-year-old mayor has long been seen as a political rising star and has been rumored to be considering a run for governor or for national office.
When asked Wednesday if he would consider running for governor, he didn't commit one way or another. "Right now, I'm looking at the governor because he's a critical partner in all that we do," he said. "I've had a lot of disagreements with the governor, but the fact is he's been very honorable in saying, 'Let's work together and make some progress.' "
Booker spoke at city hall Wednesday during a ceremony to honor Newark Portuguese-American community leader Bernardino Coutinho.
New Jersey State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who won a primary seat for the fall election Tuesday and was present at the ceremony, said of the speculation, "Until I hear it from his mouth, I'm not going to comment."
"Cory Booker is a formidable entity in New Jersey," said a close Booker ally, who attributed the rumors to people outside of the Booker inner circle who would wish him to run for the Senate. "People can see him as senator or governor or start his own non-profit to reform education."
But the source conceded that Booker constantly is evaluating his "viability in those different positions." But there are certain steps Booker has not taken, the source said, such as having discussions with state Democratic leaders and setting up an exploratory committee.
[Editor's note: This story originally said NJ.com/The Star-Ledger reported that Booker may be eyeing a run at the U.S. Senate instead of finishing out his second term as mayor.]