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Booker not running for gov, eyeing Senate race in 2014

Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a national political star thought to be the Democrat best able to defeat popular Republican Gov. Christie, has opted not to challenge the gov next year. The decision comes after months of deliberation and means that Christie's path toward re-election is made considerably easier. The only major Democrat to declare candidacy so far is state Sen. Barbara Buono, who lacks the name recognition, fundraising prowess and favorability ratings of Christie. It is unclear if other state Democrats (we're looking at you, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald) will now throw their hats into the ring. The news, which has been reported here and here and elsewhere this morning, means that Booker is considering running for Senate in 2014, according to a source familiar with his thinking. The senate seat is held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, an 88-year-old Democrat who would either retire or face Booker in a primary race.