Booker is a magnetic speaker who can captivate a room through uplifting rhetoric that critics sometimes deride as phony. Not to meet darkness with darkness, but meet it with light. He already has slated trips back to those states later this month. "No, I'm looking to unite Americans".
As mayor - besides personally responding to appeals from constituents for snow removal - Booker launched a crackdown on crime and earned a national profile with his savvy use of social media. Campaign aides said that next weekend (Feb. 8-9) Booker will visit Iowa - the state that holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses - and then head straight to South Carolina (Feb. 10-11) - which holds the first southern contest.
He also once ran into a fire, saving a woman's life while suffering smoke inhalation and burns.
In a bid to burnish his foreign policy credentials, Booker joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2017.
Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, last summer and fall was one of the Democrats leading the push against the confirmation of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Mr Booker has called for reform of the criminal justice system, affordable healthcare and the legalisation of marijuana. He was an original co-sponsor of the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation passed in December that addresses drug sentencing and rehabilitation for inmates leaving prison. He's also been a strong opponent of Trump's Cabinet appointments. His 2012 "Meet the Press" interview when he criticized Barack Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney's private equity experience hasn't been forgotten by the hardcore left.
In 2017, Booker told NPR that he stopped taking donations from the pharmaceutical industry, previously a prominent source of his campaign funds.
While he has been overshadowed nationally in recent weeks as Democrats including Sens.
Hillary Clinton's battle with Bernie Sanders in the 2016 competition for the Democratic nomination - and her eventual loss to Trump in the election - triggered an ongoing debate within the party about the best path forward, pitting moderates against progressives and younger politicians against the old guard. His age is not all that sets him apart: Booker is unmarried and vegan, two unique qualities among the emerging Democratic field.
"I think a lot of folks are beginning to feel that the forces that are tearing us apart in this country are stronger than the forces that tie us together".