Friday, February 1, 2013

Latino media personality may run for U.S. Senate

Geraldo Rivera says he may challenge Cory Booker or Frank Lautenberg for U.S. Senate
By Brent Johnson, The Star-Ledger
Geraldo Rivera
TRENTON, NJ - Cory Booker apparently isn't the only notable name considering a run at Frank Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat.

The longtime Fox News media personality said on his syndicated radio show today that he is seriously considering running for the New Jersey seat in 2014 as a Republican.

"Fasten your seatbelt," Rivera said on the show. "I've been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey."

Public records list Rivera as a resident of Edgewater, a Bergen County borough on the Hudson River across from New York City. He previously lived in Middletown Township in Monmouth County and was once the owner and publisher of weekly newspaper the Two River Times in Red Bank.

"I'm not going to drill this out, because obviously I've got commitments to Fox and here to the radio program, and I'm really having a great time," Rivera, 69, said on his show. "But I figure at my age, if I'm going to do it, I've got to do it.

"And there doesn't seem to be any Republicans ready to run against Cory Booker, the popular Newark mayor, or Frank Lautenberg."

Rivera also called Booker "a great guy."

Fox News deferred comments to Rivera's radio show. Cumulus Media, the company that syndicates the show, has not returned a message seeking comment.

Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin said today's comments are the first he's heard about Rivera's potential run.

"He's certainly a well-known personality. I've been watching him on TV for years," Yudin said. "He certainly brings name recognition. Other than that, it's much too early to tell."

Michael DuHaime, Gov. Chris Christie's top strategist, said Rivera "hasn't called me."

But after the show today, Rivera asked his followers on Twitter: "Wondering how folks feel about me running in N.J. under GOP banner against either Lautenberg or Booker for U.S. Senate?"

If Rivera does secure the Republican nomination, it's unclear which Democrat he would face. Lautenberg is up for re-election in 2014, but the 89-year-old hasn't said if he will retire.

Fellow Democrat Booker, the high-profile Newark mayor, has announced he intends to run for the seat. But Booker had dodged questions about whether he would challenge Lautenberg in a primary if the senator chooses to run again.

Asked today in Washington about a possible primary battle with Booker, Lautenberg said, "I don't think that ought to be a matter of principle interest for me."

In recent weeks, Lautenberg has chided Booker - first joking that the mayor needs "a spanking" for considering a run and noting that Booker still "has a lot of work to do" in Newark.

Booker adviser Mark Matzen has not returned a message seeking comment.

Star-Ledger staff writers Matt Friedman in Trenton and Christopher Baxter in Washington contributed to this report.

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