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Booker eyes 2014 Senate run over Christie challenge

Updated 3:40 p.m. --   Newark Mayor Cory Booker will pass on a challenge to New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, instead exploring a bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2014.

In a video posted to Booker's YouTube page, the mayor cites the need to "finish the work we have begun" in his decision not the challenge the state's popular governor.

"Let there be no doubt: I will complete my full second term as mayor of Newark, New Jersey," Booker says in the 3 minute video. "And as for my political future, I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014."

Booker's choice comes as no surprise to many observers, who have noted that Christie's popularity has surged to all-time highs in the wake of his response to Hurricane Sandy.

A spokesman for Lautenberg said Thursday afternoon that the senator will not address the 2014 election yet.

"This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year," said spokesman Caley Gray in a statement.

Lautenberg, who was first elected to the Senate in 1982, will be 90 years old in two years when his term is over. The 88 year-old New Jerseyan underwent treatment for a cancerous tumor in his stomach in 2010.

The news was first reported by WNBC.