Call it the Cory Booker law.

In lightning speed, Democratic legislative leaders last month introduced and passed — and Gov. Phil Murphy quickly signed — a law that will allow U.S. Sen. Cory Booker to simultaneously run for re-election to the Senate while seeking his party's nomination for president or vice president in 2020.

While the legislation — which went from bill to law in less than 10 days — does not mention Booker by name, Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, left no doubt it was intended to help the state's junior senator.

Sweeney believes state law already allows Booker to run for both offices, but lawmakers decided to clarify the law in order to ward off any lawsuits, Politico New Jersey reported.

Republicans pounced on what they called Democrats' "flip flop," noting that state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, introduced a bill in 2015 that would have forced then-Gov. Chris Christie to resign in order to run for president. That bill never got out of committee.

"Once again, Trenton’s Democrats show the depths of their duplicity. Rather than legislate to protect the public’s interest, they legislate to protect themselves. And we let them," state GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt said after the vote on the Booker law. "If Senator Booker cared about his home state more than his own political ambitions, he would pick a job and try to do it well."

The law passed mostly along party lines, 47-26 in the Assembly and 22-17 in the Senate. In the Senate, Democrats Shirley K. Turner and Ron Rice joined Republicans in opposition.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email

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