Sweeney: No decision on gov. race before 2013

Senate President Steve Sweeney, who has been rumored to be interested in a gubernatorial run, said through a spokesman today that Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s decision to stay out of the race has no bearing on his own plans.

The spokesman said Sweeney will make no decision before the end of the year.

“The Senate President has made it clear that Mayor Booker’s decision not to run for Governor would not have an impact on his own decision,” said former Chief of Staff Kevin Hagan, who continues to work closely with Sweeney. “As Senator Sweeney is considering his own candidacy for Governor of New Jersey, no decision will be made prior to 2013. He will remain focused on continuing the success of the Democratic majorities through the end of 2012.”

Booker announced today that he would forego a challenge to Gov. Chris Christie and instead look to 2014 and a U.S. Senate run.

Sweeney has so far been mum on his plans and close advisors say he has not made up his mind.  At least one source close to Sweeney discounted a run for governor .

Sweeney also has been mentioned as a potential 2014 challenger for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.  In January, Sweeney opened an exploratory committee with an eye on a Senate run.

Lautenberg has not made any formal announcement on his own intentions though it has been widely speculated that he is headed for retirement. Booker’s decision and indications of interest by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone promise to make the field a crowded one should Lautenberg move on.

State Sen. Barbara Buono is so far the only declared candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial field.  Sen. Dick Codey also has been rumored to be interested.

"It’s not a political environment that’s particularly warm for incumbents, but it looks like Booker has little to be worried about as the campaign season draws to a close."
—Krista Jenkins, poll director and professor of political science, FDU.