New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, a favorite of Democratic donors and supporters, is a candidate for president and wants to become the first African-American to win the presidency.
But the New Jersey native is a former private equity investor who says he is not focused on politics.
In his first 100 days, Booker plans to spend $1.1 million on TV ads, online and through social media, targeting voters in the Granite State’s three key battlegrounds.
He plans to use that money to focus on the state’s opioid epidemic, an economic crisis that is weighing heavily on the economy and national security.
“I’ve been around politics for a long time, but I’m trying to do it in a way that I’m not worried about what the next president will do,” Booker said in an interview on Tuesday.
Booker has long been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and has been a frequent target of the President’s social media posts.
On Tuesday, Trump said Booker’s views on the opioid crisis are “totally out of touch,” after Booker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attended the Republican Governors Association’s conference in Washington.
Trump has also called for Booker to drop out of the race, saying that he should focus on getting a better education system.
He also attacked Booker for not attending the White House Correspondents Dinner in June because he’s still waiting for his birth certificate.
The New Jersey senator has spent his first year as a U.S. senator in a tough race against state Sen. Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat who is the longest-serving sitting senator in the country.
Menendez is running for reelection in 2018 and faces off against Democratic challenger Joe Kyrillos.
The race is expected to be close, with Menendez winning the first round of voting on Tuesday but not winning enough delegates to become president.
The White House, which has backed Menendez for months, said in a statement that Booker has “no business” being president and has “failed to demonstrate leadership” by standing up to Trump.
Booker, who has worked for several U.N. organizations, said the President should have “immediately” released his birth certificates to make clear who he is and that he is a “fighter for the forgotten.”
Booker has also spoken out against Trump on social media and his tweets, including one from March that called the president a “bully” and accused him of using a tweet about the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died in New York City, to gain a political advantage.
Booker said he has spoken to many White House staffers about Trump and said that “his tweets are not helpful” to the country, and he has said he does not think Trump will change his tone.
Booker’s decision to spend the money he plans to invest in TV ads to fight Trump will be critical for the Democrats as they try to regain control of the Senate.
The Democrats are hoping to keep control of a Senate that is expected in December.
Booker plans on spending about $1 million per month in 2018, including $500,000 per month for ads and $250,000 for online and social media ads.
“We will be able to raise enough money to do this for two years,” Booker told The Associated Press on Tuesday after a roundtable discussion.
“If we are successful, we can put out the full cost of the ads and we can get it out on TV and we’ll be able — I think we can — get a couple of million dollars out of it.”
Booker’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Booker “has done an amazing job of raising millions of dollars for Senate candidates in his first full year in office.
In this fight, he is one of the leaders.”
Booker is expected also to face off against Republican Sen. Bill Nelson, who represents the Granville State, in 2018.
The Granville, New Jersey, native is also hoping to get to a runoff election in 2020.
Nelson is running against Democrat Doug Jones, who won the Alabama Senate primary last month.