The Democratic wunderkind begins his whirlwind of South Florida fundraising appearances on Friday night. It continues on Saturday and Sunday.
Booker isn’t shy about sharing his views on social media (Twitter, where he has 1.4 million followers, and Facebook, where his page has 138,000 likes) on television (“Meet the Press” and “Real Time with Bill Maher”) and at the lectern in front of an audience. The New York Times estimated he has earned about $1 million from public speaking engagements during his seven years in office; Booker told the newspaper he gave almost all the money to charity.
He’ll opine on just about everything, from weighty issues like gun control to which Star Trek captain is his favorite. In a lengthy weekend Q&A on the online site Reddit, he said Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was “clearly the most captain-like of all the captains.”
Democrats have been enthralled with Booker, 43, since his speech last year to the party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. A Palm Beach County Democratic Party flier referred to him as the “Democratic Convention Sensation.” Considered by many a likely future candidate for president, he’s started raising money to run for U.S. Senate from New Jersey next year.
He had been expected to challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this year. But Booker bowed out of the race after Christie’s poll numbers soared in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and it became clear he’d lose to the Republican governor.
The coming Senate race explains the South Florida appearances. New Jersey is an incredibly expensive place to run for office because it requires advertising on New York and Philadelphia television. And South Florida is home to plenty of big money donors.
His first event is a Friday evening cocktail reception with tickets ranging from $100 to $1,000 at the waterfront Victoria Isles home of Benjamin Lap in Fort Lauderdale. It’s co-hosted by Mitchell Berger, the Fort Lauderdale lawyer and major Democratic Party fundraiser. Ticket details.
The biggest event, at least in terms of dollars, is a lunch at the Palm Beach home of Christina and Robert Baker. Each ticket costs $5,200, the maximum allowable contribution for a federal candidate. The website Buzzfeed reports Baker is chief executive officer of a company that manages shopping centers and business complexes in 14 states. Ticket details.
Both events raise money for his Senate campaign committee.
Booker is also building support in the region by helping each of South Florida’s county Democratic Party organizations raise money.
In Palm Beach County it’s a Saturday Breakfast for $50 a person. Ticket details.
In Broward, it’s a Saturday dinner in Coral Springs for $150. Ticket details.
In Miami-Dade County, it’s a Sunday afternoon reception for $75 in advance, $100 at the door. Ticket details.