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Newark Mayor Cory Booker Exploring Run For US Senate In 2014

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - After much speculation that he might challenge Chris Christie and run for governor of New Jersey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced Thursday that he's got his eyes on a Senate seat instead.

The following is an excerpt of a letter that appeared in the Star-Ledger Thursday morning:

"I love Newark. I did not come to this city through the providence of birth. I chose Newark, and Newark, thank God, accepted me, embraced me and allowed me the greatest privilege of my life – to serve as mayor. 

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports


As Mayor, the politics and process of change hasn't been easy. This is a city where every inch of ground you gain must be fought for. This is a fact of all of urban America. But there is such unacknowledged strength in Newark, a profound resilience and prodigious persistence. And with Newarkers and others leading, Newark is going through a historic period of change.       

Crime is down in Newark. For our kids, parks and recreation facilities are growing throughout our city like spring grass. Newark is the center of America's efforts to reform urban education and our schools are showing strong signs of growth and promise.  We have led our city through its worst financial crisis in decades and stand on the edge of true budget stability for the first time in over 15 years.  

As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Senator Lautenberg. During my lifetime, he has been one of New Jersey's most important leaders. It would be a privilege to continue his great legacy of service.

So I will continue my hard work as Newark's mayor.  And I believe it is in the interests of Newark that I get fully involved in New Jersey's 2013 elections. Over the coming months my presence in New Jersey's state election season will be felt from the Highlands in the North to Southern shore communities. No one will fight harder than me for the Democratic ticket this fall, from the top to the bottom. Newark is my city, New Jersey is my State – I intend to be of service to them both now and for the rest of my years."

Booker, 43, also posted this message on Twitter:

@CoryBooker: Thank you for your support up to this point. Read about my upcoming plans here: #finishingthework

The seat Booker would run for is currently held by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who at 88-years-old is the oldest senator currently in office.

It is unclear if Lautenberg will retire.

"There's going to be a big push to have Sen. Lautenberg step aside for whoever it may be that decides to run in 2014, but it's not clear that Frank Lautenberg will accept that rationale," said Patrick Murray, Direct of Monmouth University Polling Institute. "Here's a guy who I think wants to die with his boots on. So it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out."

Caley Gray, spokesman Lautenberg issued the following statement:

"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."

Also Thursday, a judge  ordered Booker to release internal emails related to a $100 million grant to the city's schools made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The ruling released by state Superior Court Judge Rachel Davidson stems from a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group representing Newark schoolchildren.

The Associated Press and other news outlets also have made such requests.

Davidson rejected the city's argument that the emails were exempt from New Jersey's Open Public Records Act under executive privilege.

The emails were between Booker and others from September 2010 to June 2011.

Booker, Gov. Chris Christie and Zuckerberg announced the grant on Oprah Winfrey's show in September 2010.

Booker's office didn't immediately comment on the ruling.

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