U.S. Sen. Cory Booker poses with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and Rep. John Lewis on his Instagram account.

The Jolt: Cory Booker makes a Plains pilgrimage to see Jimmy Carter 

Says Carter: ‘I hope you run for president’

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey embarked on what’s become a rite of passage for some potential presidential candidates when he visited former President Jimmy Carter in his hometown of Plains. 

After attending a Sunday service led by Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church, Booker posted a video on social media featuring the Georgia native giving him a measure of support.

“I’m very glad to have you here this morning, and I hope you come back,” Carter said in the video. “And I hope you run for president.”

Booker, who is widely expected to enter an already-crowded race for president, thanked Carter on the video. He told Carter that his encouragement “means more to me than you can imagine.” 

Equally notable was who joined Booker during the trip to the southwest Georgia town: U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta. 

In a lengthy Instagram post, Booker called it “one of the more meaningful trips of my life to spend time with these two moral giants.”

“Today these two men shared their wisdom with me and others. Their continued service and spirit – and ours- must ignite the moral imagination of others.” 

A string of presidential candidates have made the pilgrimage to Plains to meet with Carter over the years, including the splashy 2004 visit by Howard Dean. Carter had a testier relationship with Hillary Clinton, revealing after the election that he supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary

Booker and just about every other potential presidential candidate visited Georgia in 2018 to help Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign – and Booker came even earlier, in 2017, to boost Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

No high-profile Georgia Democrats have backed a candidate yet – and Abrams has said she’s staying neutral for now – but the rival contenders are already hiring Georgia operatives and lining up donor support. 

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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris made official on Monday what Cory Booker hasn’t yet: That she’s running for president.

She also let it be known that her campaign would base its headquarters in Baltimore rather than Atlanta. The California Democrat needed a hub on the East Coast, and had been considering the two cities for her operations. 

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Gov. Brian Kemp will join metro Atlanta elected officials and corporate leaders to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. as part of the city’s pre-Super Bowl festivities. 

The delegation will also include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, music mogul Jermaine Dupri and NYSE chief executive Jeffrey Sprecher. 

You can watch the bell-ringing shindig here.

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Stacey Abrams kicks off her “thank you” tour on Monday in Albany, around the corner from where she launched her campaign for governor in 2017. 

Her supporters were buzzing over the weekend about the AJC poll that shows she has a 7-point advantage in favorability ratings over U.S. Sen. David Perdue, whom she is considering challenging. 

Read more about her tour here

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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