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Cory Booker will not challenge Christie in 2013

This post was updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced today that he will not run against Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., in 2013, depriving New Jersey Democrats of a candidate many viewed as their best shot at unseating the popular Republican incumbent.

In his announcement video, posted on YouTube, Booker touts signs of a turnaround in Newark, pointing to decreased crime, increased housing development, and a growing population as evidence that his stewardship of the city has been a success.

"But there is still much work to do," says Booker. "And so, let there be no doubt, I will complete my second full term as mayor...I am determined to remain on the job and finish out the work we have begun."

Booker did say, however, that he would "explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014," when 88-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., is expected to retire at the end of his term. Due to uncertainty surrounding Lautenberg's intentions, Booker took care to explain, "I look forward to consulting with Senator Lautenberg," praising the senator as "one of New Jersey's most important leaders."

Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray issued a statement today explaining, "Senator Lautenberg is focused on passing a critical disaster relief bill for New Jersey and addressing America's broken gun laws. The last several months and weeks have been a painful time for New Jersey and America, and the Senator is working on the tough issues we face. This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year."

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