Cory Booker says he'll decide quickly on whether to make a bid next year for New Jersey governor.
But Newark's Democratic mayor says his decision has been pushed back because of Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into the Northeast late last month, leaving many parts of the Garden State severely damaged.
"The reality is Sandy has pushed my timeline back," Booker said Thursday night in his monthly radio appearance on WBGO.
New Jersey, along with Virginia, holds a gubernatorial election next November.
"I do believe I owe it to the Democratic party of New Jersey to make a decision very quickly," said Booker, who added that he would be discussing a potential gubernatorial bid with family and advisers over the next few weeks.
Tough talking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earlier this week said his decision on running for re-election has been slowed by Sandy's devastating effects on the Garden State. The governor has spent the past two weeks dealing almost exclusively with the powerful storm and its aftermath. At a news conference earlier this week, the Republican governor offered no timetable for a decision, but did say he'll soon give the 2013 race some serious consideration.
While Christie has yet to make any announcement, some GOP strategists are convinced the first term governor, who's very popular among Republicans and who served as a key surrogate for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and was seriously considered as Romney's running mate, will run for re-election.
The big question in New Jersey is which Democrat will take on Christie. Much speculation centers on Booker, who's seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. Others considering bids are state Sen. Richard Codey, who served as governor for 14 months following the November 2004 resignation of then-Gov. Jim McGreevey, State Sen. Barbara Buono and Assembly member Lou Greenwald.
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted last month indicated that 56% of New Jersey registered voters approved of how Christie was handling his duties as governor, and by a 52%-40% margin thought he deserved re-election next year.
In hypothetical 2013 general election matchups, Christie had a slight 46%-42% edge over Booker.
If Booker passes on a run next year for governor, he may also run for U.S. Senate in 2014, the same year he would be up for re-election in Newark. Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey is an obvious candidate to retire after his current term expires in two years. He'll be 90 by November 2014.
"The job I love is the one I've got right now," added Booker. "I feel blessed to be serving where I am right now and that's going to be a factor in my decision-making."