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Booker hints at 2013 run for N.J. governor

Jason Reed / REUTERS

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker addresses delegates during the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker on Thursday gave another hint that his political future could involve a run for governor in the Garden State.

The New Jersey Democrat assured the LGBT caucus (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) gathered here at the Democratic National Convention that a marriage-equality bill would soon pass in the state, and it could be his signature that enacts it into law.  

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"I’m telling you right now, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to win marriage-equality in New Jersey," Booker said. "It’s a matter of when we’re going to win it. And I know in my heart of hearts, if God is willing, I will be there on that day that bill is signed. I might even have a very good seat when it gets done.”

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In recent months, rumors have swirled that Booker could be interested in facing off against current New Jersey governor and rising star of the Republican party, Chris Christie. The men are friendly -- and even made a parody YouTube video together earlier this year -- but Booker's remark today may be further proof that the prominent mayor would not back down from squaring off against Christie.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker energetically outlines the new National Democratic Party platform.

During the DNC this week, Booker's name has even been mentioned as a possible contender for the White House in 2016, though that would be a difficult thing to pull off. If he were to win the governorship -- no easy task against a so far fairly popular Christie -- he would only be in office a year and a half before he would have to start campaigning for the Democratic presidential primary.

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It would also be crass for Booker to appear to be looking like he was thinking about running for president and leaving the job of governor even before he had it. 

Booker has spoken to the delegations of important primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Booker was swarmed by admiring Democrats after his speech to Granite State delegates Thursday morning, hoping for pictures and a chance to shake his hand.

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Booker was even more well received later Thursday when he spoke to the LGBT caucus.

"I'm at home," he said to thunderous applause when he took the stage. "When it comes to movements for justice in the United States of America, this room is full of heroes each and every one of you.”

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He related the struggles of African Americans, Irish and Jews to the hurdles the gay community now faces.

"Hatred is hatred," Booker said. "Bigotry is bigotry. And we need to wake up America to understand that inequality is inequality. Every person who says I am a citizen of the United States of America should have equal citizenship rights."

Booker took the stage shortly after Second Lady Jill Biden, who had similar praise for President Obama's support for gay rights.