Iowa Democrats announce Cory Booker as keynote speaker for fall gala

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker will be the keynote speaker for the Iowa Democratic Party’s fall gala this October, the party announced Saturday.

Booker is widely considered to be a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and his selection for the top speaking slot at the event in the state whose caucuses kick off the primary season is sure to add to speculation about his intentions and chances.

“Senator Booker represents a future-driven vision for our party and our nation that has inspired millions. As we head in to the most grueling weeks of this cycle, we hope that his message will be the fuel Iowa Democrats need to put our candidates over the top in November,” Troy Price, the state party chairman, said in a release announcing Booker’s selection.

The dinner is a marquee event for the state party and was formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner until Iowa Democrats voted in 2015 to rename the event by removing the names of two slave-owning Democratic presidents.

Booker is one of several top names in his party who could move to win the Democratic nomination and seek to defeat President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term. Both Booker and California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris drew further scrutiny about 2020 over the past week as each had fiery exchanges with Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Over the course of the hearings, Booker took the unusual step of releasing documents before he said they were cleared, although Republicans disputed that they were not cleared and Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn implied Booker’s move was motivated by presidential aspirations.