Chris Christie's Controversial Special Election for Frank Lautenberg's Seat

Sets Oct. 16 Vote To Fill Late Senator's Place

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday called a special election for October to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a decision seen as critical to the balance of power in the U.S. Congress and to Christie’s own political aspirations.

Lautenberg, a liberal Democratic voice in the U.S. Senate since 1982, died on Monday at age 89 of complications from viral pneumonia.

Any move by Christie on how to handle the empty seat was coming under close scrutiny, as the outspoken New Jersey Republican is widely seen as interested in running for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

Christie could have chosen to fill the seat through 2014, when Lautenberg’s term was set to expire, most likely with a fellow Republican.

Instead he said a special election will be held on Oct. 16, preceded by a primary election on Aug. 13 to pick the Republican and Democratic nominees.

Like Christie, a blunt-talking politician who at times has alienated his own party as much as his Democratic opponents, the decision might leave both sides less than pleased.

Some Democrats might have liked to see Christie hold the special election on the same day as the Nov. 5 general election, when Christie is up for reelection, as that might lure more Democrats to the polls. Many Republican could have preferred he fill the seat with a Republican through 2014.

“I’m not going to play politics with this,” Christie, who is seeking re-election as governor this November, told a news conference at his office in Trenton, N.J. “I want to have an elected senator as soon as possible.”

Christie said he would pick someone within the week to fill the vacant seat until the Oct. 16 special election.

The state of New Jersey will bear the cost of the primary and special election, Christie said.

Opponents promptly took issue with his decision to hold the special election just three weeks ahead of the general election.

Political observers have said Christie might want to avoid having the special election on the day of the general election to avoid a high Democratic turnout.


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!
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • 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.