NJ Sen. Lautenberg deflects questions about future

Associated Press
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2012, file photo, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Booker, 43, announced Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 that he has ruled out a bid for New Jersey governor and is eyeing a run for U.S. Senate in 2014 instead. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is deflecting questions about the New Jersey Democrat's political future after Newark Mayor Cory Booker said publicly that he's interested in the 88-year-old lawmaker's seat.

Spokesman Caley Gray said Thursday that Lautenberg is focused on disaster relief and gun control laws. "This is not the time for political distractions," Gray said, adding that Lautenberg will talk politics next year.

Booker, also a Democrat, announced earlier Thursday that he will not run for governor next year but is interested in running for Lautenberg's seat in 2014.

He hasn't said what he would do if Lautenberg doesn't retire.

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