Cory Booker's Dad Dies, 6 Days Before Election

Cary Booker was one of IBM's first black executives

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 10, 2013 5:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Cory Booker has to temporarily put the brakes on his campaign for a Senate seat in New Jersey just six days before the special election. His father, Cary Booker, has died after suffering a stroke in Las Vegas, reports USA Today. The elder Booker also had Parkinson's disease. Cary Booker was a strong force in his own right, becoming one of the first black executives at IBM. His son frequently mentioned him in speeches and stories, notes the Star-Ledger.

One of those stories recounted how the Newark mayor's parents faced discrimination from a white realtor who didn't want to sell the black couple a home in Bergen County years ago. When Cary Booker returned to the office with a lawyer, the realtor got angry. "He sics a dog on my dad," Booker said recently at Stanford. "Now, the size of the dog has changed over the years. My father now insists it was spawn from Hell, it was Cujo. My mom will whisper to me it was just Toto ..." Booker faces Republican Steve Lonegan in the Oct. 16 election.

Cory Booker participated in a debate at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Bryant, Pool)
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