Cory Booker wants to give Lautenberg ‘space’ for 2014 decision

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Senator Frank Lautenberg (2nd R)) and Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker pose for photos prior to the news conference between Prudential Financial and Devils Arena Entertainment naming the Prudential Center as the new home of the New Jersey Devils on January 8, 2007 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for the NHL)

Senator Frank Lautenberg (2nd R)) and Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker pose for photos prior to the news conference between Prudential Financial and Devils Arena Entertainment naming the Prudential Center as the new home of the New Jersey Devils on January 8, 2007 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for the NHL)

Newark mayor Cory Booker has begun to apply public pressure, albeit subtly, on incumbent N.J. senator Frank Lautenberg to step aside so he can run unopposed for his seat in 2014.

The 88-year-old Lautenberg has not formally declared whether or not he will seek another term in the U.S. Senate.

“I want to give him the space to make his own decision. I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is is we’ve got a good senator,” Booker said during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point.

“He’s been loyal. He’s been there for a long time. And I think he’s got a decision to make. So, I’m focusing on my job for now. And I hope to talk to him. We’ve reached out to him a number of times. In fact, I had a plane trip going down to meet with him, but unfortunately with a lot of the challenges going down in Washington, he had to cancel the meeting,” Booker added.

In an interview theGrio, Booker said he had reached out to Lautenberg, seeking his “blessing” for his own planned Senate campaign.

Later that week, Lautenberg appeared to take a shot at Booker via Twitter, over the mayor’s reaction to the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

When asked if he would run in a primary against Lautenberg, Booker said, “I think it’s too even early to talk about those kind of hypotheticals because he hasn’t made his decision yet.”