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Gov. Christie Declares October Election to Fill Lautenberg Seat – Purely Politics? [POLL]

Gov. Chris Christie outlines plans for a special election to be held to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)
Gov. Chris Christie outlines plans for a special election to be held to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)

So began the political chess match. Unwittingly since it was precipitated by the death of longtime Senator Frank Lautenberg.

But I’m sure the scenario was thought out sometime before the Senator’s death.
How would the Senator’s seat be filled?

Well, now we know.

The Governor has decided to go the special election route, holding the senatorial election in October with a special primary to be held in August, as opposed to waiting the extra few weeks and letting the voters decide on Senator along with making their choice for Governor.

Would take a little bit of the wind out of the sails for Christie, no?
Yes, however not much.

Yet political observers think this is the astute route for him to go since the presumptive Democratic senatorial candidate Cory Booker would generate more interest in a November contest giving gubernatorial challenger a bit of a lift.

Not much, but a bit just the same, which would put a slight dent in the margin of victory for Christie in November.

And let’s face it: if you’re looking to run for President in 2016, you want to show the party leadership you have the chops to win and win big in your “blue” state.

So that’s what it’s all about; despite what the Governor tells us about needing an elected official in Washington to do whatever necessary work needs to be done as soon as possible.

All at a cost of around 12 to 20 million extra dollars.

Did your “BS” meter go off? Do I hear “fiscal responsibility” anywhere?

One wonders from where that money, in an already tight budget, is going to come.

Funny to even bring this up, since when I was on the air last night, my wife, who doesn’t follow politics very closely, texted me when she found out what the decision was; and asked where the money for the special election would come.

I wanted to tell her “that tree we have growing in the back yard!”

Anyway,

According to this:

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday set an October special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat made vacant by Frank Lautenberg’s death, giving voters the quickest possible say on who will represent them in Washington but preserving Christie as the top attraction on November’s ballot.

The move means there will be statewide elections three weeks apart, a rare occurrence that Democrats immediately criticized as wasteful and designed to help the Republican governor’s political position by preventing the possibility he would be on the ballot with a well-known Democrat, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who’s expected to pursue the Senate seat.

“It’s as if he gave the residents of this state the finger” by adding election expenses, state Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, said. “Instead of holding an expensive special election that tries to protect the governor’s political vulnerabilities, the voters should have the opportunity to have their say in the regular election in November.”

Christie also said he would appoint someone by next week to fill the Senate seat until the special election but didn’t say who it might be.

Christie’s announcement was the latest development in a whirlwind of political intrigue since Lautenberg’s death early Monday and overshadowed what was supposed to be the political story of the day: primary elections for the governor’s race, all 120 state legislative seats and many local offices.

The state’s law about how to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat is vague but seems to give the governor a lot of power to decide whether and when to appoint a temporary member of the Senate and hold an election to give the voters a say.

Whatever Christie decided would certainly have upset members of some important constituency: the New Jersey Democrats who have helped give him high approval ratings; the New Jersey Republicans who would like the Senate spot; or Republicans across the country considering whether they want him to be their presidential nominee in 2016.

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