New York City (AFP) - Cory Booker, a rapidly rising star in the US Democratic Party, declared victory in a New Jersey by-election propelling him into the Senate.
The 44-year-old heads to Washington as the best known black politician in the United States after President Barack Obama and one of its most prominent Democrats.
"Thank you so much, New Jersey. I'm proud to be your senator-elect," Booker tweeted to his more than 1.4 million followers with a picture saying "We did it!"
US media said he comfortably beat Republican candidate Steve Lonegan in a special election triggered by the death of the oldest US senator, Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat.
As mayor of Newark since 2006, Booker has tried to turn around the crime-ridden New Jersey city but has found wider popularity through heroics and TV appearances.
Last year, he made headlines by rescuing a woman from a burning house, and in 1999 drew attention with a 10-day hunger strike to protest drug smuggling.
A former All-American football player, Booker has been nicknamed "The Savior of Newark" for his efforts targeting inner-city problems.
Booker was class president at Stanford University, earned a law degree from Yale University and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in Britain.
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