Cory Booker’s communications director resigns

at 11:59 AM ET, 05/29/2012

Cory Booker’s communications director Anne Torres resigned today, a departure that comes just eight days after the Newark Mayor created a major national controversy with his comments regarding the 2012 presidential campaign.

“I just decided it is best if I pursued other opportunities,” Torres told the Newark Star Ledger. “We have very different views on how communications should be run.”

In an official statement released by the mayor’s office, Torres was significantly more on message, saying in part that “it has been a pleasure to serve in this administration for six years, and as a Newarker, there is no greater reward than to work for the city that you love.”


Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks onstage at Gospelfest in Newark, NJ, Saturday, May 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Torres’ resignation comes after an all-out scramble by Booker to clean up comments he made on NBC’s “Meet The Press” in which he equated attacks on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s time in the private equity industry with attacks on President Obama’s ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Booker also said the tenor of the campaign was “nauseating”.

As the controversy built, Booker released a video attempting to explain himself and to make clear that he believed attacks on Romney’s business record were fair game. But, the story continued to build for the better part of last week.

While we have argued — in this space in fact! — that the “nauseating” episode is good for Booker’s long term political prospects, it’s clear that the controversy badly roiled his office, creating tensions about the best way to move beyond it.

In the wake of her resignation, Torres fought back against the idea that the “Meet the Press” episode had anything to do with her decision to leave.

“I don’t think she had anything to do with [“Meet The Press”],” said one informed New Jersey Democratic strategist. “This is just the culmination of a bunch of small things — on both sides. It’s the timing that makes this look like a bigger deal than it is.”

Added another senior party operative based in New Jersey: “In general, Booker’s people are all Booker’s people and don’t owe their allegiances or histories to other elected officials, so I would doubt that she resigned in indignation over MTP because of anything like loyalty to Obama or a Democratic message.”

Not everyone agreed with that assessment, however. “The buzz from the people around him is she was not up to handling the next phase of his career and they needed to blame someone for the misstep,” said a New Jersey-based Democratic source.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Torres has been with Booker since his early days as mayor. She worked as an executive assistant in the communications shop from 2006 to 2007. She then served as chief of staff for the communications operation from August 2007 until she was named communications director in September 2010. Prior to joining Booker’s office, she worked as an account executive with The Britto Agency, a public relations and marketing company.

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