Cory Booker is Clinton secret weapon

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Cory Booker has a “car karaoke” tradition while on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton.

When on the road, the New Jersey senator and a campaign staffer in his car sing along to everything from Prince to Selena Gomez while moving from one event to the next.

{mosads}Snapchat videos are then blasted out to Booker’s huge legion of social media followers. Booker has 1.6 million followers on Twitter.

The stream of brief videos underscore what supporters and strategists argue the 47-year-old senator brings to Clinton’s campaign: He’s open and relatable to younger voters in ways that Clinton — dogged by criticism of being too stiff — isn’t. And he has a huge presence on social media.

“He has an appeal to the … kind of the younger voter that have been going to Bernie Sanders,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the New Jersey-based Monmouth University Polling Institute. “He would certainly be an ambassador to those voters as way to generate that kind of excitement.”

The ability to connect with younger voters — coupled with an oratory style that has drawn comparisons to President Obama — is positioning Booker to be an important asset to the Clinton campaign as they gear up for the November election.

“We ultimately need young voters to turn out like they did in 2008 and 2012. We have no better surrogate … than Cory Booker, so he’s got to be out there in a big way come the fall,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who campaigned with Booker for the campaign this week.

The attributes that make Booker attractive to the Clinton campaign have also sparked speculation about whether he could be a vice presidential candidate. Sources told The New York Times reported that Booker was one of more than a dozen potentials currently being discussed by Clinton’s advisers.

The New Jersey Democrat has brushed off questions about if he could fill the No. 2 spot in a hypothetical Clinton administration or if he has White House ambitions of his own.

Asked if he had any advice for Clinton as she’s selecting her running mate, Booker suggested last month to look for someone who could become president if needed.

“I don’t think I have to advise her because I think this will be a guiding principle to her. You want somebody who is capable and ready to lead, has the maturity to hold that office and the values necessary for this nation,” he told “The Michael Medved Show.”

Murphy avoided any endorsement of Booker as a vice presidential nominee but said he hopes Booker is on the campaign’s short list.

“I think he would bring something unique to the ticket, but he’s going to be one our leading edges on the campaign trial whether or not he’s on the ticket,” he said.

Booker formally endorsed Clinton in June 2015. According to data from a campaign aide, he’s stumped for the former secretary of State in 13 states. 

“We love Sen. Booker,” the Clinton aide told The Hill, adding that he’s “one of our most active surrogates.”

Though relatively new to Washington, Booker has been a political star for some time.

He captured headlines when he was the mayor of Newark, where he was known for rescuing freezing dogs and saving constituents from burning buildings.

The national attention, bolstered by an active Twitter presence, gave Booker a celebrity following as a freshman senator in 2013 that more senior lawmakers frequently fail to achieve.

Booker has been mentioned as a possible future Democratic presidential candidate himself, and his appearances for Clinton could help his future prospects as well. While promoting and defending Clinton, he’s also promoted his book “United.”

Booker is expected to continue to be a surrogate for Clinton throughout the Democratic primary and during the general election.

Despite being the presumptive Democratic front-runner since she announced her presidential campaign, Clinton has struggled to court younger voters, who have flocked to Sanders’s grassroots campaign.

As Clinton’s team turns toward the general election, they’ll need to close the enthusiasms gap and make sure Sanders’s supporters don’t stay home on Election Day.

“He can be an asset to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to woo younger people,” said strategist Jim Manley, a former staffer for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Amie Parnes contributed to this story.



Tags Bernie Sanders Chris Murphy Harry Reid Hillary Clinton
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