Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s father died Thursday morning after battling to recover from a recent stroke. His death comes just days before the New Jersey Democrat faces voters in the state's Oct. 16 special Senate election.
Cory Booker is favored to win next week's election to fill the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) seat. Republican Steve Lonegan is his challenger.
Booker and Lonegan faced off in a debate Wednesday, the night before Cary Booker died.
Asked if Booker knew his father was close to dying that night, his campaign said in an email to The Hill, “The campaign is not commenting at this time. I hope you can understand.”
Campaign officials also declined to say when Booker’s dad suffered the stroke.
“Many people in our city came to know and love Cary Booker. Mayor Booker's father was an inspiration to him, and someone the mayor has often credited with being a principal reason for him entering public service,” the city of Newark said in a statement.
“The mayor's public events have been cancelled as he gathers with his family and close friends."
Cary Booker was born in 1936, lived in Washington, D.C., and later moved to New Jersey. He was active in the 1960s civil rights movement. He and his wife, Carolyn, were two of the first black executives at IBM during that period. They were married for 49 years.
Both parents actively campaigned for their son since he announced his decision to run for Senate.