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Campaign Staffer: Cory Booker To Enter N.J. Senate Race

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/ AP)  -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker is planning to enter the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Frank Lautenberg, a member of Booker's campaign staff said Friday.

The staff member said Booker plans to announce his entry into the race Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the plans ahead of the official announcement.

Booker had been expected to run. He announced last year that he was considering seeking the office in 2014, and he has been raising money for a run.

Cory Booker To Run For Lautenberg's Seat

Lautenberg died Monday at the age of 89. He passed away at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell due to complications from viral pneumonia.

Ben Dworkin, who heads up Rider University's Institute for New Jersey, says name recognition will make him a favorite among Democrats seeking to replace Lautenberg.

"He is a personality that people from the northern part of the state to the southern part of the state already know," Dworkin told WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

Dworkin thinks Booker would remain the favorite against any Republican challenger, whoever might run against former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan.

A special primary is scheduled for August with a general election in October.

On Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie appointed state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa as a temporary successor to Lautenberg

Chiesa, a registered Republican, will hold the office until the special election takes place in October and Christie said Chiesa will not run for the seat. He will take office on Monday.

"I said on Monday that I was going to select the person who I thought would be the best person to represent New Jersey between now and Oct. 16," Christie said. "During the last few days as I've gotten to deliberate on this issue, it became clear to me that Attorney General Chiesa would be the best person to represent the people of the State of New Jersey in the United States Senate."

"He will not be a candidate in the primary or general election and that's his decision," said Christie.

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