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Cory Booker to headline Florida Dems Leadership Blue Gala in Hollywood next month

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Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant announced Wednesday that New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will speak at the party’s 2016 Leadership Blue Gala on June 18 in Hollywood.

“As the largest swing state in the nation, Florida will play a determining role in stopping Donald Trump and returning the Senate to Democratic hands,” Booker said in a statement. “While we know the work ahead won’t be easy, I know Sunshine State Democrats are fired up and ready to deliver Florida for the third time in a row. I look forward to seeing you this June as we continue to move our country forward.”

Booker is a popular speaker and gave a strong speech at the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee Kennedy-King dinner in Tampa in 2012.

Although his name isn’t bandied about as much as say Julian Castro’s, Booker has been floated in some circles as a potential VP running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“As mayor of Newark and in the United States Senate, Sen. Booker’s leadership has brought Republicans and Democrats together to get things done without compromising on the values which make our party and our nation strong,” said Tant. “We’re excited to have Sen. Booker on our team as we take the fight to Donald Trump and his Florida Republican allies.”

Booker has served in the Senate for three years now, being elected to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in a special election in the fall of 2013.

A graduate of Stanford and Yale Law School and a former Rhodes scholar, Booker lost his first race for mayor of Newark to incumbent Sharpe James, the longtime mayor who later served time in prison for fraud. He defeated him in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 before moving on to the Senate.

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

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