BOOKER BEAT

Behind in polls and fundraising, Booker predicts ‘Iowa surprise’

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

Another day, another convert to the Cory Booker campaign. Based on the gushing reaction you often get from voters at Booker events – even the uncommitted – you’d think that his campaign was in the top three. The reality, however, is that Booker has never reached more than 5% in any poll. In New Hampshire, on the week where Julian Castro dropped out of the race, Cory Booker reeked of confidence.

“This has been the period of momentum that we’ve seen the most incredible momentum and growth in this campaign, marked by many things. In this state and in Iowa, we have now risen to the top of all the campaigns, in the top two or three in endorsements from elected leaders and others. We’ve risen in Iowa to the top three campaigns in net favorability; one of the most popular people in this race. We’re seeing energy and crowds and enthusiasm, but one of the measures of our growth and our success is our on line contributions. So, I’m excited to announce right here that our total for the last quarter, we had a record-breaking quarter for us, raising the most we’ve ever raised, at $6.6 million,” Booker said.

A real improvement for Booker, whose struggles at fundraising have been almost as pronounced as his weak polling numbers. But Booker says those numbers are only part of the the story. With Castro and Kamala Harris both now out of the race, the senator says the party needs him now more than ever.

“At a time that we’re seeing the kinds of voices that represent the diversity of our party, that represent the lived experiences of our parties begin to fall out, this is a time when people are realizing my voice is essential in the campaign, itself, and the best, as a candidate, to pull out the fullness of the Obama coalition,” Booker said.

One of Booker’s earliest endorsers is Sen. John Morgan, who represents the 23rd District in New Hampshire, who introduced Booker to a packed gymnasium at the high school in Exeter.

“People aren’t decided in Iowa and in New Hampshire. I’ve been to both states with Cory and speaking to folks on the ground and on the front lines and the fact of the matter is that people are searching for something that they haven’t found yet and that’s the greatest thing about Cory Booker, when people find him – I’ve heard it 10 times in the last 30 seconds just as people are filtering out of here, “I wasn’t decided. I just heard him and I’m moved to the point where I’m committed.’ That’s what people keep saying; that’s what people are feeling all over the country, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Morgan said.

And the selfie, as important to any campaign nowadays as the stump speech. All the candidates are required to stand for selfies and Booker has that part of the game down. He’s still not that great on managing the clock, though, making for some late night dashes from campaign events to cable news appearances, running like a man who has a lot of ground to gain against a clock that keeps ticking.