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Cory Booker Announces 2020 Bid, Tweets About Hot Pockets

“Together we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose,” said the senator from New Jersey in a new video

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in WashingtonMayors Conference, Washington, USA - 24 Jan 2019

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington.

Jose Luis Magana/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced Friday morning that he is running for president, joining what is shaping to be a historically large field of Democrats vying to take on President Trump in 2020. Booker broke the news through an email to supporters and a campaign trailer posted to Twitter. The theme of the video was unity, with Booker stressing the need for America to “channel our common pain back into our common purpose.”

More specifically, Booker stressed racial unity. “When I was a baby my parents tried to move us into a neighborhood with great public schools,” he said. “But realtors wouldn’t sell us a home because of the color of our skin. A group of white lawyers who had watched the courage of civil rights activists were inspired to help black families in their own community, including mine. They changed the courseof my entire life. In America, courage is contagious.”

Booker’s announcement came on February 1st, the first day of Black History Month. As the New York Times pointed out, Booker will give his first three national interviews on Friday to shows anchored by black or Latino hosts.“The history of our nation is defined by collective action, by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists, of those born here and those who chose America as home, of those who took up arms to defend our country and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” he said in the roll-out video.

Though the Iowa caucus is still over a year away, Booker joins a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls, including fellow senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buittigieg, former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, former Maryland representative John Delaney, Venture for America founder Andrew Yang and Oprah spiritual guru Marianne Williamson have also announced they will be seeking the Democratic nomination. Others are sure to follow soon. Prior to Friday’s announcement, Rolling Stone ranked Booker 10th in its 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard. (A new list will be published next week.)

Booker has long been considered a prospective 2020 candidate. In the months leading up to and since the 2018 midterm elections, he visited a number of key primary states, both to campaign for Democratic candidates and to fine-tune his own stump oratory before entering the presidential fray. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day last month, he attended a rally for the civil rights leader in South Carolina. A day earlier, he was in Plains, Georgia, attending church with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and former president Jimmy Carter. “I’m very glad to have you here this morning, and I hope you come back,” Carter said. “And I hope you run for president.”

Always a fiery speaker, Booker drew plaudits in September when he dramatically defied Senate rules by releasing confidential emails during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh. Booker was reminded by his Republican colleagues that the infraction could be grounds for expulsion from the legislative body. “Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate or the confidential documents we are privy to,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “Bring it,” replied Booker.

Later Friday morning, he replied to a tweet from Hot Pockets.

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