Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he won't make an official announcement about the U.S. Senate race until after the gubernatorial election in November.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks during the Democrat National Convention (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“I won’t announce anything until after the governor’s race,” Booker told the Bergen Record's editorial board. “I think it would be distracting and not something I’m prepared to do.”

It's no secret Booker wants to run for the seat being given up by 89-year-old Frank Lautenberg in 2014. He has filed with the Federal Election Commission so he can begin fundraising but is reluctant to make it official, only saying he want to explore the possibility of a candidacy.

“Should I run, should I win, I imagine that I can be a real impact player on Day One on some of these very complex and difficult ideas,” he told the Record.

He announced his intentions to run for U.S. Senate just before Christmas on a YouTube video but pulled back after being criticized by Lautenberg and other Democrats for being too outspoken about the race. Lautenberg several weeks ago announced he will retire at the end of his term.

Sixth district Congressman Frank Pallone, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker are said to have interest in running on the Democrat side; radio-and-TV host Geraldo Rivera is considering a run as a Republican.

Booker says he will work for Barbara Buono in the gubernatorial race but believes his presence in Washington no matter who wins will be important.

“I think whoever is governor, Barbara or Chris, they’re going to want me down there because our state is heading towards a fiscal cliff of its own, it is, the pension liabilities in New Jersey are just as bad as Illinois,” Booker said. “So we’re going to need champions down in the Senate that can get that done.”.

$1million In Appearance Fees

(L-R) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Gayle King, and Newark Mayor Corey Booker attends the TIME 100 Gala in 2011. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

Meanwhile, the 43-year-old tells the New York Times he has earned around $1million in appearance fees during his seven years as mayor of Newark but has given most of it away. “Even though I am entitled to keep it,” he said, “after Uncle Sam takes his share and after I’ve given away hundreds and hundreds of thousands, I’ve kept very little of it, if any," he told the newspaper.

 

Booker, who has not released an accounting of his travel and fees and is not required to by law, believes his efforts have benefited Newark. His philanthropy has provided security cameras for neighborhoods, uniforms for baseball teams and donations to city organizations.