In the midst of a crowd of 50 students who were moving fast enough to breeze by pedestrians — but not so fast that they missed a word that he said — jogged Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark and candidate for U.S. Senate.
Booker looked like the most popular kid in school at his 10th “Run with Cory” campaign event on Wednesday night. Students and town residents alike swerved around each other to introduce themselves to him and take running “selfies” with the man they hoped would be their next senator.
In the course of the 1.5-mile trek from Palmer Square to Thomas Sweet, participants met Booker and spoke to him about their political concerns. At the run’s conclusion, Booker’s campaign bought ice cream for all participants, who numbered about 150.
While some were attracted by the free dessert, others came for the candidate.
“I support Cory Booker’s education policies because he is at the forefront of how we should be changing our schools,” Caroline Tucker ’17 said, when asked why she attended the run.
Despite the serious policy discussion, some students said they appreciated the more lighthearted aspects of the event.
Booker explained that he began the tradition of running with constituents when he was in his 20s. He said the runs have allowed him to familiarize himself with the neighborhoods he has wanted to represent and get to know constituents better.
“We’re really glad he’s here in Mercer because he’s got a lot of support here, in the Princeton area and in many of our towns,” Mercer County Democratic Chair Liz Muoio said of Booker’s presence. “It’s his second trip here, he’s done 10 runs and two of them have been in Mercer, and we’re hoping to set a new record in attendance tonight, so we’re just really glad he’s here and he’s a great candidate and he’ll make a great senator.”
Once at Thomas Sweet, Booker spoke to attendees about the importance of political engagement.“Remember, democracy is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit on the sidelines just cheering for our teams red or blue, you’ve got to get more engaged, especially with your candidates,” Booker told the crowd. ”Hold them accountable, offer them support, but most importantly, we’ve got to think about being leaders ourselves.”
Booker, who is on the ballot for the Oct. 16 special election to fill late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat, spent the earlier part of his evening at a fundraiser at the home of PRINCO President Andrew Golden and his wife Carol.
Booker last visited town for a Sept. 14 meet-and-greet on Nassau Street, where he spoke with constituents, met with Rep. Rush Holt and visited local businesses, including Small World Coffee and Pins and Needles.
Booker leads his opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, by 53 to 40, according to the most recent poll conducted between Sept. 26 and Sept. 29 by Monmouth. A Quinnipiac poll from Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 showed Booker with a similar lead.
Booker has been endorsed by College Democrats and the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.
Correction: Due to incorrect information provided to The Daily Princetonian, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Representative Rush Holt attended the fundraiser at the home of PRINCO president Andrew Golden and his wife Carol. Though Holt's attendance was announced prior to the fundraiser, he did not attend the event. The 'Prince' regrets the error.