BY ADAM RAINEAR
With Chris Christie as one of the campaigners, the drama of 2013 gubernatorial election will certainly be a tough to follow but the 2014 Senate race - with the potential to pit some of top state politicians against each other - is already shaping up to being a worth second act.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, arguably New Jersey's second best nationally known politican, admitted to CBS News’ Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Sunday that he had his eyes on the Senate seat.
“Clearly it’s a job I’m interested in,” Booker told Schieffer. “We did what we had to do by law and file the federal account,” he said referring to the campaign committee he established.
While Booker is the only candidate to officially file with the Federal Election Commission, many political pundits feel the race will attract several other New Jersey politicians who are household names.
In a Bloomberg article published Friday, speculation continued to arise about other potential candidates including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-12th District), and New Jersey Senate Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester).
Although Booker's intentions for the race to replace retiring Sen. Frank Lautenberg are well known, the mayor maintained on the news show that he's more focused right now on supporting his party’s candidate to run against Christie than concerned about the Senate seat.
Although Booker does lead in most early polls, the 2014 Senate race is by no means a sure thing for him.
Booker lost one of the top Democratic fundraisers, Samantha Maltzman, who has raised considerable contributions for Hillary Clinton, and Frank Lautenburg.
Although Maltzman declined to comment, two people with knowledge of Booker’s Senate campaign told NJ.com Maltzman was pushed out of the early Senate campaign.
A territorial battle with another one of Booker’s major fundraisers, Bari Mattes, left Maltzman in disarray and irritated, the NJ.com report said.
Booker also has various positions on his campaign staff to fill, including campaign manager.
"What he needs is a strategist and a campaign manager right away," veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told NJ.com. "You need to have a strategy that doesn’t blink if the going gets rough."
And beyond that Booker is expected to face criticism from the far left due to his strong relationship with Christie.