Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is running for president in 2020.
The junior senator from New Jersey announced his bid Friday in a video to supporters.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind … where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” Booker said. “Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise.”
Booker added his name to a crowded field of Democratic contenders, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), as well as former Barack Obama Cabinet member Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
Booker plans to travel to Iowa the weekend of Feb. 9, then to South Carolina and New Hampshire over the following week, according to his campaign.
Like Harris, Booker has said he will not accept campaign donations from corporate PACs and lobbyists. He also opposes super PACs supporting any candidacy.
Unity and bringing people together are central themes of Booker’s campaign ― a contrast to the fighting rhetoric of other Democratic presidential candidates, such as Harris and Warren. It is an approach that Booker has become known for. He has called for “faith” in bipartisan efforts for criminal justice reform, and for “love” in response to hate and division in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s election.
Booker joined the Senate in 2013 as the first black senator from his state. He grew up in New Jersey and served as mayor of Newark, where he currently lives, from 2006 to 2013.
Booker has gained national prominence partly for his tough questioning in Senate hearings, such as during last year’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault.
Booker’s policy pushes have included calling for criminal justice reform, such as reduced sentences for nonviolent offenders, and combating climate change, such as by investing in clean energy. He is a supporter of the Green New Deal and ― like fellow presidential hopefuls Harris, Warren and Gillibrand ― co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare for All bill in 2017.
Booker has been called out for his perceived defense of the powerful pharmaceutical industry: In 2017, he voted down a bill designed to lower prescription drug prices. (Booker at first said it was because the legislation didn’t address consumer protections for imported drugs ― a month later he backed a similar bill after activists called him out, saying he had been able to add robust safety provisions to the measure.)
Progressives have also criticized the senator for having ties to Wall Street. He received about $2 million from the securities and investment industry for his 2014 Senate campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. During the 2012 presidential race, Booker criticized Barack Obama’s re-election campaign for attacking GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s work for private equity giant Bain Capital.
The senator appears to have been mulling a presidential run for a while.
“Of course the presidency will be something I consider,” he told New York magazine in September. “It would be irresponsible not to.”