UPDATE, January 13, 2020, 2:20 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Monday announced he would suspend his 2020 presidential campaign.
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Booker Says He’ll “Drive Diversity” on Staff If Elected
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) says a woman would be his running mate should he emerge from the 2020 Democratic primary field, and that former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams deserves vice presidential consideration from whoever takes on President Trump in the November elections.
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Booker spoke about the presidential race, his legislative priorities, and the value of a diverse staff this week at one of the New York City outposts of The Wing, a co-working and community space for women. He is the first cisgender man to speak at The Wing.
“Diverse teams … are so much stronger, so much better,” Booker said. “If I’m president of the United States, my vice president is going to be a woman.”
Polling at an average of 2 percent nationally with the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses coming up February 3, Booker praised a comprehensive federal family leave program and talked about his push to provide basic human rights to women in prison. He told the gathering at The Wing that he would choose a woman as his vice president, pointing to Abrams—who narrowly lost her gubernatorial bid in an election with myriad irregularities—as someone who “should be considered on the shortlist of every single person who might end up being nominated.”
Booker said Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election was “stolen from her, from us” due to voter suppression by the state’s Republicans, including now-Gov. Brian Kemp (R).
Abrams helped lead the opposition to Georgia Republicans’ near-total abortion ban, which narrowly passed the legislature in 2018 before meeting a court challenge. As Georgia house minority leader, Abrams was a pro-choice champion who often fought GOP efforts to restrict abortion.
In February, Abrams gave the rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union address, urging Democrats to pull more people into the political process rather than appealing to centrist or Republican voters.
Abrams denied rumors in March that she would join former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 ticket. “Running in a primary to be the vice president is very different than someone who has been selected by the party to be the nominee asking you to serve as a partner,” Abrams said at the time. “I am open to all options.”
“Our Rights, Our Courts”
Prominent Democratic presidential candidates will join a New Hampshire forum February 8 focused on the federal judiciary, which conservatives have taken over since Trump entered the White House in 2017. The forum will address reproductive rights, according to WMUR-TV. Demand Justice Initiative, NARAL, and the Center for Reproductive Rights are among the organizations sponsoring the event.
“Our forum will provide candidates an opportunity to showcase how they will protect reproductive rights given the current composition of the judiciary,” according to an invitation to the 2020 presidential candidates. “Candidates will also be invited to share their ideas for how they will address courts seeking to undo progress for women, people of color, workers and LGBTQ people, as well as eroding our environment and economic justice for American families. … Finally, candidates will be given a platform to describe the types of judicial nominees they would prioritize for the federal bench and address how they will seek to restore balance to the judiciary.”
Progressive groups have urged Democrats to lay out a clear vision for what a Democratic administration would do to counter Trump’s takeover of the judiciary. The president has appointed more than 150 judges to the federal courts over the past three years.
Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have said they would consider expanding the number of seats on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect constitutional rights that could prove vulnerable with a conservative Court majority.
What Else We’re Reading
New York magazine’s Intelligencer considers whether Warren, who has faded in national polling since the fall, still profiles as a so-called unity candidate who might receive backing from supporters of both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Biden.
Politico reported that “Mike Bloomberg is starting to take heat from Democratic rivals for running an imperial campaign: Using his personal fortune to finance an infinite stream of TV ads while refusing to engage his opponents and defend his record on a live debate stage.”
Facebook announced Thursday it would maintain its policy of allowing political campaigns to lie in posts on the social media site—a policy that proved critical to Trump’s 2016 election win. Facebook’s announcement drew swift criticism from Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, NPR reported.
Esther Gim contributed to this report.