Frank Lautenberg Won't Seek Reelection

Jewish Lawmaker From New Jersey Is Oldest Senator at 89

getty images

By Reuters

Published February 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Senator Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who at 89 is the U.S. Senate’s oldest member, said on Thursday he will not seek re-election next year.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a fellow Democrat, is seen as a front-runner to replace Lautenberg, a self-made multimillionaire businessman who became a leading liberal voice in the Senate.

In a statement, Lautenberg offered no reason for his decision to retire from Congress, but vowed to keep working for constituents until his Senate term ends in January 2015.

“While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

“This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” he said.

A spokesman for Booker did not immediately reply to a request for comment, and his usually overflowing Twitter feed was silent just after Lautenberg’s announcement.

A survey by Public Policy Polling released in November found most New Jersey Democratic voters wanted to see Lautenberg retire at the end of his fifth term in 2014 rather than seek re-election.

The same survey found Booker leading the pack of potential Democratic candidates for the Senate seat, with six in 10 voters saying they want to see him run.

Booker is a rising star in the Democratic party, known as much nationally for his recent rescue of a woman from her burning home as he is for running a city troubled by high crime and unemployment.

After contemplating a possible run against New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie this year, Booker instead filed papers in January to run for Lautenberg’s seat.

Lautenberg was first elected to the Senate in 1982, after incumbent Democrat Harrison Williams quit in a bribery scandal.

Lautenberg had retired from the Senate in 2000, saying he was tired of chasing campaign contributions. But in 2002 he came out of political retirement at age 78, again helping the Democrats retain a seat after Senator Robert Torricelli dropped his re-election bid amid corruption charges involving improper gifts from a businessman.

He was last re-elected in 2008 at age 84.

The World War Two veteran was a co-founder, former chairman and chief executive of the payroll services company Automatic Data Processing.

Marc R. Stanley, chair for the National Jewish Democratic Council, said in a statement that his organization was saddened by the news.

“Jewish Democrats around the country will miss his stalwart support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and his leadership on progressive domestic policies supported by the vast majority of American Jews,” Stanley said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.