Governor Chris Christie says a special election will be held in October to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.

Governor Christie at Statehouse press conference (LiveStream)

At a Statehouse press conference Christie said a primary will be held on August 13.

"The citizens of New Jersey deserve to have a choice and a voice in this decision," said Christie during his press conference.

Christie says he intends to appoint someone to fill the seat in the meantime, but he didn't say who.  The special election held Oct. 16.

"I am going to be looking for somebody who will be a great US Senator, someone based on their merits. And you know me, I don't dawdle."

That schedule would ensure the Republican governor's own re-election bid remains at the top of the ballot in New Jersey this November.

The move, however, could bring criticism for putting more elections on the calendar, which can be expensive. The state Office of Legislative Services says each election costs the state about $12 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.