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Newark Mayor Booker ‘not ruling out’ run against Lautenberg

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) on Sunday refused to rule out a possible primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.).

“I'm not ruling out anything right now, but I think it's premature to be speculative,” said Booker in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Booker, who is exploring a possible Senate bid, last week filed papers with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) establishing his campaign committee. But the rising Democratic star has not officially said if he will run for Senate in 2014 or if he would challenge Lautenberg if he runs for reelection.

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“Before we do any exploration of the Senate run, we've got to file, set an account. But that's my intention, but it's over a year away, and a lot is going to change between now and then,” Booker added.

Lautenberg turns 89 this year and has also not made clear his future plans. His office though quickly rejected a report from a New York television station on Friday which claimed that he had decided to retire as “simply not true.”

Booker downplayed any tension between him and the long-serving New Jersey senator. 

“This is really early. We've reached out to him. We even had a trip down here to speak with him, but he wasn't able to speak,” he said. 

“Right now the senator, who I support, needs to focus on the debt ceiling, he needs to focus on funding for Sandy. I have two very good senators in the Senate; we're going to support that,” he added.