Don't Expect Sen. Booker to Be in the Spotlight

Cory Booker will have to focus on New Jersey, not the spotlight in U.S. Senate.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, right, congratulates Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, after administering a ceremonial swearing-in as his mother Carolyn Booker looks on in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Oct. 31, 2013 in Washington, DC.
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In Monmouth's final poll leading into the New Jersey Senate race, a majority of voters viewed Booker as advocating for their politics, but some were still plagued with doubts as to Booker's intentions with 48 percent believing Booker's Senate run was a ploy to further his own political career.

"If you look at the people with national profiles who have entered the Senate, a number of Republicans have gone out and tried to make names for themselves," Murray says. "Democrats, meanwhile put their heads down. You cannot get away with being a Ted Cruz or a Rand Paul in the Democratic party."

Booker has another former New Jersey Democrat he can look to for advice. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also entered the Senate under special circumstances. He was appointed to fill the remaining months of Sen. Jon Corzine's term and also had just one year before he faced election.

Menendez said he has cautioned Booker privately to take it all in and learn how the body works before jumping out front.

[READ: Republicans Hope Obamacare Glitches Shape 2014 Senate Races]

"His biggest transition, and I have told him this, is going from the executive powers of the mayor of the state's largest city to the legislative process of cobbling coalitions together to get to the votes that you want for the issues you care about," Menendez says. "I told him to take his time in assessing the landscape, the people and what not."

But Menendez said sometimes, a freshman has an opportunity to strike out on his own.

"When your passion calls you, use that eloquent voice of yours," Menendez says he has told his new colleague.

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