Booker: We want Amazon's 'HQ2' in Newark

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Citizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Booker opens up about relationship with Rosario Dawson MORE (D-N.J.) this week offered up Newark as the new home for Amazon's second headquarters after the company pulled back from its plans to build offices in New York City.

Booker's comments set him at odds with other 2020 presidential hopefuls, including progressive Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses RNC says it raised .6 million in February Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 Big Tech is not the enemy, Sen. Warren MORE (D-Mass.), both of whom celebrated the cancellation as a win by grass-roots activists and local lawmakers.

"We want HQ2," Booker said, referring to the Amazon offices by their nickname. "We’ve sent that message out already." 

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The Democratic presidential candidate told Cheddar that while he "applauds" the local community in New York for raising issues specific to their neighborhood, Newark leaders have mobilized around bringing in Amazon.

"In Newark, we have a local grass-roots effort to try to bring Amazon there," Booker said. "We are a city that’s built for a significantly larger population, has indigenous infrastructure, has incredible assets … our local community leaders have decided that we would like to see Amazon come." 

An Amazon spokesperson when the company canceled the New York plans last week said that it would not be searching for a new site at this time. It still plans to build offices in Northern Virginia. 

Booker has faced some criticism from left, with progressives criticizing him as weak on corporations and Wall Street. 

Amazon's New York cancellation has provided another opportunity for Democratic presidential candidates to draw battle lines over where they stand on big tech corporations, a division that highlights the growing rift between business-friendly Democrats and the ascendant left wing.   

Sanders in his announcement video on Tuesday highlighted his battle with Amazon over the company's working conditions, staking out his position as a critic of large corporations. Sanders's months of Amazon criticism culminated with the company upping their minimum wage to $15 an hour, which Sanders claimed as a success. 

"The people of New York and America are increasingly concerned about the power of large multinational corporations and the billions in corporate welfare they receive," Sanders said in a statement after the New York HQ2 was canceled last week. "Our job is to end the race to the bottom where taxpayers in one city or state are forced to bid against each other for desperately needed jobs. This is what the rigged economy is all about."

Amazon said that it was pulling back from the New York plans because of the opposition it faced from local leaders. 

Other presidential candidates have also weighed in, including Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand shows off 'just trying to get some ranch' t-shirt Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight MORE (D-N.Y.), who criticized Amazon's search for "massive tax breaks to continue to have record profits." 

"The fact that [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos wanted our taxpayers to pay for his helicopter landing pad just shows how disingenuous he was from the beginning," Gillibrand said.