TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday set an October special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat made vacant by Frank Lautenberg’s death, a decision that gets voters the quickest possible say on who will represent them in Washington but preserves Christie as the top attraction on November’s ballot.
The move means the state will have two statewide elections three weeks apart, a rare occurrence that Democrats immediately criticized as a wasteful move designed to help the governor’s political position.
Christie didn’t answer the question of whom he’ll appoint to fill the seat in the meantime, but he said he has a list of possibilities in his head.
The Republican governor said he’s not obligated to nominate someone in line philosophically with the liberal Lautenberg. Christie plans to have the temporary representative in place when the Senate begins debating immigration reform next week.
Democrats said Christie’s decision to hold the special election separately from the regularly scheduled election is wasteful, noting that the special primary and election will cost an estimated $12 million each.
“It’s as if he gave the residents of this state the finger” by adding election expenses Codey said. “Instead of holding an expensive special election ... the voters should have the opportunity to have their say in the regular election in November.”