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Oprah Hosts Booker Fundraiser Amidst Questions About Presidental Run

Oprah Winfrey hosted a fundraiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker amidst questions about a possible 2016 presidential run.

(L-R) Rush Holt, Shelia Oliver and Frank Pallone at a NAACP candidates forum
(L-R) Rush Holt, Shelia Oliver and Frank Pallone at a NAACP candidates forum (Frank Pallone via Facebook)

Booker has been mentioned in recent days as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016 after  the Washington Post included him on a list of potential nominees. A win in the special Senate election in October, according to the Post, “will immediately make him the second most prominent African American elected official in the country — if he isn’t already.  With Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) offering a unequivocal pledge not to run in 2016, Booker will come under heavy pressure to look at the race.”

Booker, however, is apparently not thinking about the presidential race. “2016 is not in his plans. He is focused on winning New Jersey’s Democratic Senate primary on August 13,” Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis said in a statement according to the Star Ledger.

The rumors were also fueled by Booker being scheduled to speak at the University of Iowa at the end of August. He backed out the appearance because he wants to focus on the Senate race that Winfrey said “she believed in him and his policies. She said he has the light people need to look at and respond to. It was a gathering of people who felt he could make a difference in Washington.”

Meanwhile, in Newark the three Democrat candidates competing against Booker answered written questions from the audience about Social Security, Medicare and civil rights issues. Newark NAACP President Deborah Gregory said it would have been great if Booker had brought Winfrey to the forum.

Booker’s Democratic opponents criticized him for raising money instead of answering questions. A Booker spokesman said the fundraiser was scheduled before the campaign was invited to the forum.

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