April 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Cory Booker began a two-week tour for president with a "hometown kickoff" Saturday in Newark, N.J., where still has a house and was mayor.
A crowd of around 4,000 to 5,000 people, according to police, turned out at Military Park for a campaign stretch billed as a "justice for all tour" -- including criminal, economic and environmental. Because the supporters were slow in arriving, Booker's speech was delayed by one hour, CNN reported.
Booker, who was elected senator in November 2012 after serving two terms as Newark's mayor, announced his candidacy for president on Feb. 1 by emailing supporting with an email announcement.
Booker was the eighth Democrat to announce he was running for president. The Democratic field has ballooned to 17 other candidates, including six U.S. senators. He is backed by 3.8 percent of voters, according to RealClearPolitics, way behind 31.1 percent for Joe Biden, who hasn't announced he is running for president, and 21.2 percent for Bernie Sanders, who ran in 2016 for president. All of the other candidates are in single digits.
Saturday's rally was billed as a campaign kickoff.
"Together, we will fulfill our pledge to be a nation of liberty and justice for all," Booker said in downtown Newark. "Together, we will win. And together, America, we will rise."
Booker next plans to campaign in Iowa, Georgia and Nevada. He will be focusing on communities that have been left out, according to his campaign.
"Too many people believe the forces that are tearing us apart are stronger than the bonds that hold us together. I don't believe that," the 50-year-old Booker told his supporters. "I believe we will achieve things that other people say are impossible. I believe we will make justice real for all."
Booker, the first African-American to represent New Jersey in the chamber, mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," written in 1963, and its declaration that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
"We are here today to say, we can't wait," Booker said.
He also touched on economic issues, backing affordable child care, creating a national paid family and medical leave program, and ensuring everyone receives a fair wage.
Booker even pegged the environment to the economy with the development of clean energy.
Despite strongly opposing the policies of President Donald Trump in which he and others "make us fear each other, dislike each other, and hate each other," Booker pledged to run a positive campaign.
"Critics will tell us that a campaign powered by grace and love and a deep faith in each other can't beat that," Booker said. "But I say it's the only way we win."