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Cory Booker doesn’t want to talk about being a possible VP

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Cory Booker is being discussed as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but the New Jersey Senator doesn’t want to talk about it.

“You know what? I’m focused on being the best New Jersey Senator I can possibly be,” he said Saturday afternoon. “And I’m leaving a lot of that speculation for the ‘speculators’ and right now my focus is doing my job.”

Booker’s comments came moments after appearing at a news conference with Congressman and U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy at the Diplomat Hotel, the site of the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala this weekend.

“I’m not even entertaining that anymore,” he responded when asked if he’s been contacted by the Clinton campaign. “I’ve been answering that question about 50 times in the last three days, so I’m focused on doing my job.”

Part of that job includes fighting for gun control measures. Booker joined nearly all of his colleagues in the Democratic Senate caucus Wednesday night/Thursday morning in a nearly 15-hour filibuster to try to get two gun reform proposals a vote in the Senate, which will happen early next week.

“It was something that stemmed just from a lot of frustration,” he said. He had been speaking with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy the day before the filibuster.

“We knew we just couldn’t let busy as usual happen, and so it felt very cathartic to say we’re junior senators, but we’re not going to let this body continue, and I was so grateful to see such a turnout,” Booker said. “Forty of the forty-six Democratic senators all came to the floor, some of them spending a considerable amount of time. I think it was important.”

Booker joined Patrick Murphy at the news conference as Murphy unveiled a criminal justice reform package as part of his platform as he runs for the Senate.

Booker is also very involved in criminal justice reform, saying he hopes a criminal justice reform bill that he had been working with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will soon get a vote in the Senate.

Booker recently had a meeting Thursday with a representative from the Koch Brothers (who are strong advocates of the legislation), and said he is speaking with House Republicans about getting the bill on the floor. “If we can do that before the end of this Congress, we can have a bill for the president to sign.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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