As if the New York City mayor’s race, a string of scandals in the New York state legislature and the gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey weren’t enough for the region, voters in the Garden State must now go to the polls for additional elections to fill the seat of the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D).
While Governor Chris Christie (R) could have appointed a successor to serve until the end of Lautenberg’s term in 2014 or set the election for the same day he’ll be on the ballot in November, he instead opted for a special primary in August and a special general election in October.
“Yes, New Jersey statute does allow me to name an appointment to serve for the remainder of Senator Lautenberg’s term, with a primary and general election taking place in 2014, but I firmly believe that the decisions that need to be made in Washington are too great to be determined by an appointee for a period of eighteen months,” Christie stated in his address on June 4.
On June 6, Christie appointed his Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to serve as a temporary senator for the state of New Jersey. Chiesa announced he will not be running for the seat in the special election.
Candidates running for the open Senate seat include Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), Representative Pallone (D), Representative Rush Holt (D) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D). Steve Lonegan and Dr. Alieta Eck filed to run in the Republican primary.
Alfred Doblin, editorial columnist for The Record and NorthJersey.com, told MetroFocus host, Rafael Pi Roman, that he thinks politics motivated Christie’s decision to hold a special election.
Across the Hudson, New York voters will also be seeing a summer of campaigning and politicking.
There are almost a dozen serious contenders in the race for New York mayor, the New Jersey governor’s race and the special senate election. Doblin told Pi Roman, “It’s a glorious time to be following politics.”