WASHINGTON -- A spokesman for Sen. Frank Lautenberg denied a report Friday night that the senator has decided not to seek re-election.
"Sen. Lautenberg has not yet made a decision on his re-election," Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray wrote in an e-mail.
He was responding to a report from NBC's New York affiliate saying Lautenberg has made up his mind not to run again in 2014. The report cited unnamed sources "familiar with Lautenberg's thinking."
The report came on the same day it was revealed that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has filed papers to create a Booker for Senate campaign committee.
Few would be surprised if Lautenberg eventually announces that he won't seek another six-year term. He turns 90 next year, when he would have to run a statewide race, and polls consistently show him trailing Booker in popularity. But Lautenberg would not want to be pushed out of office, and his camp signaled today that it intends to fight -- at least for a time -- when a senior aide ripped Booker for a Politico story.
"This guy is self-absorbed and disrespectful," the senior Lautenberg adviser told the political Web site, anonymously.
It didn't sound like someone planning to walk away quietly.
Lautenberg has not publicly commented on his political future since Booker announced last month that he would not run for governor but is eyeing the Senate seat in 2014.