Cory Booker not headed to Iowa, despite reports

Holly Bailey, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
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Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks during a June news conference (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

Cory Booker to Iowa? Not according to his campaign.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Senate candidate denied a report Monday that Booker was headed to the pivotal presidential caucus state for a speech next month.

As The Daily Beast first reported, the University of Iowa’s website said Booker was to speak to the student body Aug. 29 during the school’s “welcome back week” festivities.

That’s barely two weeks after the Aug. 13 Democratic primary for the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. The winner of the primary heads to the general election set for Oct. 16.

But Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for Booker, told Yahoo News his boss was “absolutely not going” to Iowa.

“It is not on the campaign’s calendar and never was,” Griffis said, adding that the campaign had reached out to the University of Iowa to remove the event from its website.

It’s unclear how the event was scheduled. A spokesperson for the University of Iowa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the past, Booker worked with an agency to book private speeches — which earned him $1.3 million over the past five years. But the campaign said all future paid speeches had been canceled when he declared his candidacy for the Senate.

While Booker is expected to easily win next month’s Democratic primary, the Iowa speech — which, it must be noted, was to be followed by a screening of “The Hangover Part III” — could have possibly backfired politically for the Newark mayor.

Booker’s rivals have criticized him for his uncanny ability to generate media coverage, implying he’s running more out of ego than for a desire to help New Jersey voters. Last month, the Lautenberg family threw its backing behind Rep. Frank Pallone in the Democratic primary, saying that, like their father, he “knows that to be effective you must put New Jersey and your principles first, not your own glory.”

It was an obvious dig at Booker, who angered Lautenberg earlier this year by jumping into the primary before the senator had announced his political plans for 2014.

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