Gov. Christie’s U.S. Senate Scheduling Options

Because of two apparently conflicting New Jersey statues, Gov. Christie may make a political decision about when to schedule a special election, a decision which could result in litigation over the conflicting statutes.  The NYT explains the options:

The option that is being pushed by many in Mr. Christie’s own party would be to name a Republican to hold the seat and then delay an election on a replacement until 2014. This would give his national party an unexpected gift: a reliable vote in the Senate — for a year and a half, at least — from a state that has not elected a Republican to the upper house in 41 years. But it would also open Mr. Christie up to allegations of sidestepping the electoral process.

The alternative, lawyers in both parties said, would be for Mr. Christie to set a primary election as early as August, which would mean a special election in October. This would leave Democrats in a stronger position to win the seat. Mr. Booker, in particular, benefits from a high national profile and strong fund-raising, though he would be quite likely to face a primary challenge. But it would also open Mr. Christie to accusations that he was wasting some $24 million in taxpayer money by holding those two extra elections ahead of the regular November balloting for self-interested political reasons.

He also risks alienating Republican donors, whom he needs to woo. Mr. Lautenberg’s death came a few days before Mr. Christie is to attend a meeting of some of the biggest Republican fund-raisers, some of whom believe that Mr. Christie’s embrace of President Obama after the hurricane damaged their party’s nominee, Mitt Romney….

Some Democrats said they believed Mr. Christie could see his support among Democrats and independents erode if he appointed a Republican to hold the seat beyond November. “I seriously doubt he would want to have to deal with a lawsuit in his own election year, especially a lawsuit that he might lose,” said one senior Democratic official who requested anonymity in order to not be seen as antagonizing the governor.

MORE from Political Wire on Democrats’ litigation threat.


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