Cory Booker Faces Senate Primary Challenge From Bernie Sanders’ New Jersey Chair

Cory Booker has been focused on his 2020 presidential run until now.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) talks with reporters following the weekly Democratic policy luncheon meeting at the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Cory Booker has been focused on his 2020 presidential run until now.

Senator Cory Booker will face at least one Democratic primary challenger for his Senate seat in 2020 — a Bernie Sanders supporter from his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

Lawrence Hamm, a civil rights activist who chairs the People’s Organization for Progress, announced on Thursday his plans to challenge Booker for the U.S. Senate seat in the 2020 Democratic primary.

“I am planning to run as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020. If you’re interested in supporting or volunteering for this effort then I invite you to a meeting to discuss this Sunday,” Hamm posted on Twitter.

Hamm is currently the chairman of Senator Bernie Sanders’ New Jersey campaign for president and wishes to appear down-ballot of the Vermont 2020 candidate.

“I support Bernie Sanders for president because I believe in the agenda and the platform that he’s running on,” Hamm said in an interview with Politico. “And if Bernie Sanders becomes president, he’s going to need a senator from New Jersey who will fight wholeheartedly for those reforms and agenda items and platforms that he campaigned for as president.”

New Jersey holds its primary on June 2. It is unclear how competitive the presidential race will be at that point or if Booker will still be a White House contender.

Booker’s bid for the White House has found itself stagnating in the lower tier, with poll numbers in the low single digits. Those numbers prevented him from qualifying for Thursday’s presidential primary debate. However, he has remained in the race, saying the field needs to be representative of the Democratic Party’s diverse base.

This week, Booker sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee after not qualifying for the debate, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. In it, he requested that the DNC lower its qualifications so that more candidates — especially candidates of color — could appear on stage. Until Andrew Yang became the final candidate to qualify, only white candidates had qualified for Thursday night’s debate in Los Angeles.

Booker is widely popular across New Jersey and has enjoyed wide margins in his Senate victories. He was first elected by an 11-point margin to the Senate in a 2013 special election. He won a full term in 2014 by more than 13 points.

In recent national polling, Booker is in eighth place at 2.5 percent, according to averages compiled by RealClearPolitics. Among early voting states, he fares slightly better in Iowa — his best state — in which he is in sixth place with 2.8 percent.