NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg’s death has made life difficult for Gov. Chris Christie, who is running for re-election in November and has 2016 presidential ambitions. Republican Christie has a big lead over his Dem opponent, Barbara Buono, in the blue state.
While Christie is very popular, so is Dem Newark mayor Cory Booker, who will run for Senate. Booker is so popular that Christie doesn’t want to be on the same ballot with him, concerned that Booker will get votes for Buono and make Christie’s win less impressive.
So, at great taxpayer expense, NJ will have its gubernatorial election in November, and a special senatorial election in October, just so Christie can avoid rubbing ballot elbows with Booker.
Christie is expected to appointed a “place holder,” someone who won’t run for the Senate seat, to replace Lautenberg between now and the special election.
So Christie is clearly opting to help himself, not the GOP. If he wanted to help his party, he would appoint someone who is going to run, to give him or her the trappings of incumbency. And he would have that person run with him in November, to get maximum advantage from Christie’s coattails.
He’s going for the blowout win, hoping all will be forgotten and forgiven by the 2016 primaries.