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Christie breathes sigh of relief as Booker says he won’t run for gov.

The next target of Newark Democratic Mayor Cory Booker’s ascendency appears, however, to be aging Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Christie Gets Big Boost in ‚??13, But Lautenberg May Not Be So Lucky in ‚??14

It was no surprise, but the news that Newark Mayor Cory Booker would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor of New Jersey next year gave Republican Gov. Chris Christie a major boost‚??and, no doubt, occasion for a big sigh of relief. Considered one of the nation‚??s rising Democratic stars, Booker (who chaired the platform committee at the Democratic National Convention this summer) had long been regarded as the strongest possible opponent to Christie, who is considered one of the GOP‚??s future presidential hopefuls.

But following his on-the-scene oversight in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last month, Christie‚??s numbers had a dramatic upswing. The most recent Rutgers University Poll showed 67 percent of Garden State voters approved of their governor‚??s performance‚??a surge from the 48 percent who approved before Sandy. Nearly nine in 10 voters said Christie‚??s performance during Sandy was ‚??excellent‚?Ě or ‚??good.‚?Ě His warm welcome to President Obama clearly helped Christie, with 88 percent of Democrats saying they approved of his bipartisanship and graciousness to the Democratic President. While many Republicans nationwide condemned Christie for being too warm to the Democrat they were trying to beat, the Rutgers poll showed two-thirds of New Jersey Republicans favored their governor‚??s spirit of bipartisanship during the storm.

In terms of re-election, a Quinnipiac Poll showed Christie leading Booker by a margin of 53 to 35 percent statewide and that two-thirds of registered New Jersey voters feel he deserved re-election.

Booker clearly chose the better part of valor in not running and leaving the race to such ‚??B-team‚?Ě Democrats as Rep. Frank Pallone or State Sen. Richard Codey, who was acting governor for 14 months following the November 2004 resignation of then-Gov. James McGreevey.

Booker is reportedly set to huddle with advisers soon to discuss a possible race against fellow Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who will be 90 when his term is up in 2014. A Public Policy Polling survey recently showed that Booker leads Lautenberg among likely primary voters by a handsome margin of 59 to 22 percent. Lautenberg has not yet said whether he will run again.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as ‚??the man who knows everyone in Washington‚?Ě and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what‚??s going on in the nation‚??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ‚??Gizzi on Politics‚?Ě and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ‚??Gizzi‚??s America,‚?Ě video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John‚??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com