Report: Booker was told Lautenberg would not seek reelection in 2014

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) was told that the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) intended to retire and declined a request from his camp to delay announcing a challenge, according to a report.

The report published in The Newark Star-Ledger on Monday says that Lautenberg’s chief of staff Dan Katz met with Booker in December to tell him that the then-incumbent senator would not seek reelection in 2014.

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Katz asked that Booker delay announcing a bid for the seat until Lautenberg could publicly share his plans, allowing the longtime senator to exit office on his own terms.

Booker, however, declined that request and publicly announced that he would weigh a run for the seat days later.

That decision angered Lautenberg, who jokingly said that the Newark mayor deserved a “spanking.”

Lautenberg eventually announced in February that he would not run for reelection and died four months later.

Josh Lautenberg, the son of the former senator, called it “a simple request and Cory Booker didn’t want to abide by that.”

Lautenberg’s family members appear not to have forgiven the slight, with Josh Lautenberg supporting Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D) in the Democratic Senate primary. In his endorsement he criticized Booker as a “show horse.”

Booker, though, is seen as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and to win the seat in the general election.

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