Booker rallies Iowa Democrats to 'stay faithful' after Kavanaugh confirmation

Setting foot on Iowa soil for the first time as a possible presidential contender, Sen. Cory Booker urged De...

Posted: Oct 8, 2018 11:43 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2018 11:43 PM

Setting foot on Iowa soil for the first time as a possible presidential contender, Sen. Cory Booker urged Democrats discouraged by Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court to "stay faithful" in defeat and rally to action in the upcoming midterm elections.

The New Jersey Democrat was the headliner Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party's major annual fundraiser, where he hoped to make a positive first impression on more than 1,000 Iowa donors and activists who will hold considerable sway in the state's caucuses as he weighs running for president in 2020.

2020 Presidential election

Brett Kavanaugh

Continents and regions

Cory Booker

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Iowa

Midwestern United States

North America

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

The Americas

United States

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US federal government

US political parties

US Presidential elections

White House

New Jersey

Northeastern United States

"I see the pain and the hurt, but I want to remind everyone here in this room tonight, full of fellowship, this room full of faith, that this is a time in our country when we need to stay faithful," Booker said.

Hours earlier, Booker was in Washington as the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh — the culmination of "one of the more painful experiences I've had as an elected leader," Booker told reporters later in the evening.

But Booker's "Spartacus moment" opposing Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings also won him acclaim within the Democratic Party, and national buzz, just in time for his Iowa debut.

With his mother and other family members looking on from the audience, Booker delivered remarks that bore some signatures of a stump speech. Booker dove deep into his biography, including a nod to his own Iowa ties (his maternal grandmother hailed from Des Moines). Meanwhile, he issued sharp rebukes of President Donald Trump and his vision for America, and brought the crowd to its feet multiple times as he urged Democrats to fight back.

"This is not a time to curl up. It is not a time to shut up. It is not a time to give up," Booker said. "It's a time to get up. It's a time to speak up."

Booker's message resonated with Juanita Williams, of Waterloo, Iowa, who said the crowd "needed to hear what he had to say tonight."

"Some of us feel like this is a rock-bottom moment, and we have to feel like there's hope," she said.

Williams caucused for Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 and said she is "hoping he and Elizabeth Warren are a ticket" in 2020, referring to the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. But Booker was "one of the best" speakers she has listened to in years of attending this particular Democratic Party fundraiser, she said, and she "would certainly give him a good look" should he run for president.

Booker has made no secret of his interest in a possible presidential bid in 2020. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, he said, "Of course the presidency will be something I consider. It would be irresponsible not to."

Trump now frequently cites Booker as a likely rival. During a rally Saturday evening in Topeka, Kansas, Trump called out Booker as one of his possible 2020 challengers, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Warren. And Trump raised the New Jersey senator's record as Newark mayor during a press conference Monday at the White House.

"Take a look at Cory Booker," Trump said. "He ran Newark, New Jersey, into the ground. He was a horrible mayor. And he made statements that when he was in high school or college, what he was doing — he actually made the statements. And now he's talking about Judge Kavanaugh."

Speaking to reporters in Des Moines, Booker attempted to shrug off the President's remarks.

"I have nothing personal against this president, if he wants to attack me personally he can," Booker said. "If he wants to attack my record, the reality is that the people of the state of New Jersey who elected me statewide are very proud of the work that I did, the change that we made in Newark, the transformation going on in our city."

"This is not about the President. This is not about me," Booker added. "I will never let him pull me so low as to hate him. I'm going to continue to be a voice in this country for love, for bringing the nation together, not driving the nation apart."

Meanwhile, Booker sidestepped questions about his 2020 intentions, joking about his fitness when one reporter asked if he's running.

"I do need to get in shape, so I'll probably go jogging here in Iowa in the morning," Booker chuckled, before adding, "No, in all seriousness, we're here to focus on the elections that are coming up in 31 days."

On Monday and Tuesday, Booker will hit the campaign trail in Iowa at a series of events for Democrats up and down the ballot, with plans to visit each of the state's four congressional districts.

Other possible top-tier Democratic contenders, including Biden and Warren, have to date steered clear of visiting the Hawkeye State.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2796990

Reported Deaths: 57880
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35476411002
Queens33149310435
Suffolk2618833704
Nassau2312823342
Bronx2155886818
New York1795964670
Westchester1503482358
Erie1302212100
Monroe1014341267
Richmond943901978
Orange63761945
Onondaga61679829
Rockland56262783
Dutchess38898514
Albany35586421
Oneida34426660
Niagara30089428
Broome29230441
Saratoga26027234
Schenectady20033252
Ulster19676295
Rensselaer18229199
Chautauqua15775197
Oswego14855138
St. Lawrence13495148
Putnam13437101
Chemung13381179
Steuben13175195
Ontario12310121
Jefferson11931108
Wayne10862107
Cattaraugus10460166
Cayuga10104115
Sullivan1001290
Genesee9064147
Herkimer8743147
Clinton846950
Fulton8157115
Tompkins774161
Warren773199
Madison7721110
Livingston756879
Montgomery7519165
Washington713484
Tioga664474
Allegany6326124
Cortland628089
Columbia5970115
Chenango584498
Orleans582497
Franklin574627
Otsego570468
Wyoming558370
Greene514391
Delaware471953
Lewis436940
Seneca345670
Essex311940
Schoharie290426
Yates209434
Schuyler204820
Hamilton5313
Unassigned1472
Out of NY0342
Utica
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 29°
Oneonta
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 16°
Herkimer
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 29°
Old Forge
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 29°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2022 WKTV Golf Card only $99.99
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve