Booker launches campaign tour starting in New Jersey

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' Sanders pledges to only nominate Supreme Court justices that support Roe v. Wade From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam MORE will officially launch his Democratic presidential campaign Saturday at an event in his hometown of Newark, N.J., where he previously served as mayor for seven years.

Booker will hold a "hometown kickoff" in downtown Newark midday Saturday, with stops in Iowa, Georgia and Nevada planned for the coming days.

The Associated Press reported that Booker is planning to use the event to frame why he would be the best candidate to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE next year, while the location allows him to appear before a crowd in friendly territory.

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Booker's campaign manager described the candidate's strategy to reporters as a slow-burning fire that would “organize and get hot at the end," according to the AP.

“We’re trying to win the election — we’re not trying to win a news cycle,” Addisu Demissie said.

Booker is currently polling lower than several other Democratic hopefuls, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Buttigieg: The future 'is personal' for me Donald Trump, president for life? We need term limits now MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Robinette BidenButtigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' Buttigieg: The future 'is personal' for me Donald Trump, president for life? We need term limits now MORE, who has not formally announced a bid.

The New Jersey senator has also been overtaken in the key primary state of Iowa in recent days by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg jokes about holding town hall same night as 'Game of Thrones' finale Buttigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE (D), who has enjoyed a surge in some polling.

On Friday, Booker torched Trump's reported plans to pardon Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Kevin McAleenan if CBP took any action to stop illegal migration for which McAleenan was deemed legally liable.

CNN reported Friday that two anonymous sources close to the situation said Trump told McAleenan that he "would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants." The Department of Homeland Security quickly issued a statement denying that the president had suggested McAleenan take any illegal measures to secure the border.

“That should shake every American. We basically have a president telling people to break the law and that he will pardon you,” Booker told MSNBC's Joy Reid.

“And again, we’re sitting in Newark, where kids are going to prison for things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing, and nobody’s pardoning them,” Booker continued, referring to smoking marijuana.