UNION, N.J. — During Saturday’s events for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Cory Booker dabbed his dome with a white handkerchief on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and bellowed, “We still have work to do.” The next morning, the mayor of Newark appeared as a guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and bemoaned “too much division going on in our politics.”
Booker is no stranger to Washington. His parents met here. He was born here. He spent his Christmas breaks from Oxford here. Now a political sensation and media darling with nearly 1.5 million Twitter followers, the 44-year-old seems to have been engineered in a political lab to walk the halls of Congress.
Unless something implausible happens — specifically, an unknown tea party candidate named Steve Lonegan wins statewide office in New Jersey — Booker will return to Washington this fall as the state’s junior senator and a regular in the presidential and vice presidential sweepstakes. Fresh off a convincing victory in the Democratic primary for the seat that was held by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, also a Democrat, Booker acknowledges that the race is his to lose. He is prepping for the eventual move to the capital with a nightly audio book appointment with “This Town,” the bestseller by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich that paints an unflattering portrait of official Washington.