President Obama endorsed Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey's open Senate seat Wednesday, saying if elected he would be "an important partner in our efforts to reduce gun violence, give every American a fair shot in a global economy, and make our country stronger."

The president's announcement, while not a surprise, provides another boost to Booker in the Democratic-leaning state. Booker is heavily favored to win next month's special election to fill the seat of the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), where he faces Republican nominee and former Bogota, N.J. mayor Steve Lonegan.