For better or worse, Cory Booker’s appearance on the national political stage took place on October 16th, 2013, when he defeated Republican Steve Lonegan to become New Jersey’s junior U.S. senator. It was a special election to fill the remaining term of Frank Lautenberg, who had died that June.

Like Lautenberg, Booker was a Democrat. He won pretty easily, garnering 54.9% of the vote to Lonegan’s 44%. Booker, who was mayor of Newark at the time, became the first African-American U.S. senator elected since Barack Obama in 2004. The regularly scheduled Senate election was in 2014. Lautenberg had announced before he died that he would not seek re-election, so Booker already had the campaign machine in place and he won handily, defeating Republican Jeff Bell 55.8% to 42.4%.

He announced his candidacy for president in February of this year but is not near the top in polling. He is also a vegetarian and is dating actress Rosario Dawson. Neither of those facts is important, but I felt like including them, anyway.

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