Conversations With Slate

What Happens to Newark Without Cory Booker?

The presumptive senator argues his signature city will only get better after he is gone.

Cory Booker’s Senate run was long anticipated, but the unexpected death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg will likely take him away from Newark, N.J., at least a year earlier than planned. And intense recent violence there has reignited some familiar criticisms of the mayor that say his personal ambitions have overshadowed his work for the city. Did he really set Newark on a course of sustainable change?

In fourth and final part of his interview with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Booker argues that his administration has slowly chipped away at decades of decline and put in a foundation that will reap benefits for years to come. He points to small victories, like the first new hotel in downtown Newark in 40 years, that have driven growth elsewhere, and he says that he suspects his successor as mayor will enjoy the rewards of his administration’s work.

In the first three parts of the interview, Weisberg asked Booker about being gay-baited by his opponent, about his persistent optimism for compromise between Democrats and Republicans, and how his famous heroics with his constituents will survive when he is cooped up in an office on Capitol Hill.