Sen. Cory Booker takes questions at CNN town hall

By Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 11:36 p.m. ET, March 27, 2019
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9:12 p.m. ET, March 27, 2019

Here's what you need to know about Cory Booker

From CNN's Rebecca Buck

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Booker chose the first day of Black History Month to launch his 2020 run, timing that nodded to Booker's own heritage and suggested he would put it at the center of his pitch to voters.

Booker — a New Jersey Democrat who rose to prominence as Newark's charismatic and ambitious mayor — has at times favored a pragmatic approach in the Senate, teaming up with like-minded Republicans on issues like criminal justice

At 49, he is the youngest among his Senate colleagues in the race. His age is not all that sets him apart: Booker is unmarried and vegan, two unique qualities among the emerging Democratic field.

Here are some details on Booker's political record:

  • Booker as mayor: It's unclear how Booker's record as mayor will play in the Democratic primary or beyond. Critics say Booker did not meet his lofty promises to reshape the city, with some progressives faulting his support for school choice, among other issues. But Booker's allies believe this chapter of his story will be an asset, affording Booker some distance from Washington and demonstrating his executive chops.
  • Booker as senator: He has sought to sand off some of his rough political edges ahead of 2020, burnishing his progressive credentials by signing on to policies such as "Medicare-for-all." Last year, he announced he would no longer accept corporate PAC money; some progressives have been skeptical of Booker for the support he has received from Wall Street donors. Booker will also oppose super PACS supporting his candidacy or others.
8:47 p.m. ET, March 27, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker will answer voters' questions at a CNN town hall tonight

 Ethan Miller/Getty Images
 Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democratic candidate Cory Booker will answer questions tonight at a town hall, moderated by CNN's Don Lemon, in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

It starts at 10 p.m. ET.

The New Jersey senator joins growing list of Democratic presidential candidates looking to challenge President Trump in the 2020 race.

Booker, who announced his campaign in February, has said he would be "looking to women first" when selecting a running mate, and in office, he has been a major proponent of marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.

What we know about Booker: He first drew notice as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He was sworn into the Senate in 2013 after winning a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

As a senator in the Trump era, Booker has counted himself among the most vocal critics of the administration within the chamber.