Sen. Cory Booker said Friday that Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, two of his highest-profile opponents for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, are his “sisters,” playing down the idea that there will be much friction with his colleagues.
Booker announced early Friday morning that he is running for president, joining an already crowded field that includes three other senators, an Obama-era Cabinet secretary, a congresswoman and a retired congressman. The New Jersey Democrat was asked about Harris and Gillibrand on ABC’s “The View” in his first TV appearance as a 2020 candidate.
“They are friends, they are sisters,” Booker said. “There will be some sibling rivalry. But at the end of the day we’re family.”
Pushed to identify what makes him different from the pair, Booker referenced his roots in inner-city Newark, where he still lives.
“My record, I think, when I have a chance to put it before people, they’re going to see a very different, sort of not usual path in politics,” he said.
Gillibrand, who joined the White House race in mid-January, tweeted a video of her and Booker answering trivia questions about each other for a “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Worker?” Marie Claire segment.
“Congratulations and welcome to the race to one of my closest friends, @corybooker! I’ll be cheering you on — just, you know, not TOO hard,” the New York senator wrote Friday.
Booker’s announcement made him the fourth senator and second African-American to join the rapidly expanding Democratic pool of presidential candidates. The 49-year-old has been setting the stage to run for more than a year, courting influential African-American supporters and hiring campaign personnel in crucial early primary states.
Already, Booker has found himself in competition with Harris for support from members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, a potential sign of a brewing battle for African-American support. Harriskicked off her campaign last weekend with a speech in Oakland, Calif., that drew 20,000 people.