With the passing of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Gov. Chris Christie (R) has a bit of a dilemma.
According to the law, he’s supposed to appoint a successor and then set a date for an election to replace the late senator. But since Mr. Lautenberg was a Democrat and Mr. Christie is a Republican, politics — as usual and as expected — enters into the picture. The New York Times:
…the decision is fraught with pitfalls, none bigger than having to choose between improving his party’s fortunes in Washington and furthering his own political ambitions at home.
Mr. Christie, a Republican, is up for re-election in November and hoping to secure a huge victory margin, which he could then use to accelerate his drive to present himself as a presidential candidate with broad appeal even in a blue state.
But adding a special election for the Senate seat to the ballot could put Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark at the top of the Democratic ticket, potentially energizing more Democrats, who already outnumber Republicans in New Jersey by 700,000 registered voters, to come to the polls.
Mr. Christie could appoint a placeholder — someone who promises not to run for the full term when the election comes around — but then he has to choose whether to pick a Republican placeholder, which will energize the Democrats, or he can choose a Democrat, which will turn the hardcore base Republicans against him and screw his chances for a national ticket.
Get the popcorn.