NORPAC, a top pro-Israel political action committee, endorsed Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat just hours after he signaled he would run.
“With the recent passing of our friend, Frank Lautenberg, the United States Senate lost one of Israel’s and the Jewish community’s greatest friends and supporters,” NORPAC said in an email Thursday announcing a June 16 fundraiser for Booker, just hours after reports emerged that he was circulating petitions to qualify for the seat vacated by the death this week of Lautenberg.
“We must ensure that this seat is filled by someone with the same passion and commitment to those critical issues,” said the email from the New Jersey-based PAC, one of the top-earning pro-Israel PACs. “We believe we have found just that candidate – Newark Mayor Cory Booker.”
It was not clear from the announcement whether Booker would appear at the event.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, set an October date for a special election to fill the seat of Lautenberg, a Democrat.
Booker, a popular Democratic mayor who has presided over a revival of the blighted city, has deep pro-Israel roots dating to his days at Oxford University, when he led a group for Jewish students and others called L’Chaim House. He has maintained a close friendship with the founder of L’Chaim, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who last year failed in a Republican bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Booker and Boteach frequently appear together at speaking events.