Is Cory Booker inching closer to challenging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the governor's seat in 2013?
Addressing the LGBT caucus meeting in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday afternoon, Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., hinted at a potential run for governor, telling the gathering he hopes to "have a very good seat" when marriage equality is achieved in the Garden State.
"I'm telling you right now, it's not a matter of if we're going to win marriage equality in New Jersey, it's a matter of when we're going to win it," Booker said. "And I know in my heart of hearts, if God is willing, I will be there on that day that bill is signed. I might even have a very good seat when it gets done."
Amid applause and chants of "Cory, Cory, Cory," one man shouted, "Booker for governor."
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In late August, PolitickerNJ reported, party sources said Booker and his political adviser were meeting with county chairs to express his interest in running for governor, a decision he reportedly will make by December.
Booker praised the determination of the LGBT community to attain equal rights and compared its struggles to those faced by the African American community.
"I'm at home," Booker said. "When it comes to movements for justice in the United States of America, this room is full of heroes - each and every one of you."
"The black community was denied justice for a long time," he said. "We were denied equal citizenship rights for a long time. And it was Americans - black and white, Christian and Jew, gay and straight - that went down and marched with Martin Luther King, who went down, who went down and fought for my voting rights, fought for my marriage rights, fought for my civil rights.
"I'm so happy that my president, the first African American president in the history of the United States, has stood up and helped lead the way so that every community understands that we all were there once," Booker said. "Hatred is hatred. Bigotry is bigotry, and we need to wake up America to understand that inequality is inequality. Every person who says, 'I am a citizen of the United States of America,' should have equal citizenship rights."
Dr. Jill Biden addressed the meeting ahead of Booker's speech and touted her husband and President Obama's commitment to LGBT issues, acknowledging the advancements made in the LGBT community under the president's watch.
"So much is at stake in this election. You know that, and especially for the LGBT community, we've got to make sure that we keep moving forward on gay rights so that we can continue the progress we made," Biden said, "progress like ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' signing the Matthew Shepard hate crimes laws, refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court and expanding visitation rights for same-sex partners in hospitals. And of course, we have the first president and vice president in history to affirm support for gay marriage."