Monthly Archives: June 2013

NJ’s Christie Takes Action

Only a day after New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) passed away, Gov. Chris Christie (R) held a news conference earlier this afternoon to announce his Senate succession plans. While saying he had the legal authority to appoint a successor to serve the balance of Lautenberg’s term, the governor instead called a special election, saying that “18 months was too long a time for an appointed senator to serve.”

Therefore, within the legal time constraints of calling the special election today, the nominating vote will be Aug. 13, with the special general senatorial election following on Oct. 16. The regular general election, featuring Christie himself, is Nov. 5.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker will run for the Democrats. Likely entrants are representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) and Rush Holt (D-NJ-12). Since the US House members will not have to risk their seats to run in the short special election, some of the Republicans might also enter the race.

Christie’s move is a good one for his own campaign. He allows the people a vote, but avoids a spike in Democratic turnout because the special Senate vote will not conflict with his election.

The governor also said he will soon appoint a replacement to serve until the special election concludes. He stipulated that he will not put a “caretaker” condition upon his eventual selection. Therefore, the person he appoints could also run in the special election.

New Jersey Confusion

New Jersey

New Jersey

Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) death yesterday illuminated another ambiguity in the New Jersey Election Code. At stake is whether Gov. Chris Christie (R) is forced to schedule a replacement special election this year, or whether his interim appointee can carry serve the remainder of Lautenberg’s current term.

The last time the state had a Senate vacancy occur outside a regular election period was in 2002, when Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) ended his post-nomination re-election bid due to campaign finance irregularities. Six weeks away from the ’02 general election, Torricelli was under heavy media pressure. Several incidents of potential illegality were coming to the forefront, and polls were showing him dropping behind GOP challenger Doug Forrester. With party leaders clearly understanding that the seat slipping through their fingers, Torricelli was forced out. Even though the Garden State election law seemed clear that the time for changing nominees had long since passed, the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed the Democrats to replace Torricelli. The man they had waiting in the wings to do so was none other than former senator Lautenberg, who had retired just two years earlier.
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Graves Out in Minn.; Tillis Commits In N.C.

When Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) announced that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in the House at the end of last week, her action set in motion another political move. The congresswoman’s 2012 opponent, businessman Jim Graves (D), who held her to a 50.5 – 49.3 percent re-election victory on the heels of Bachmann’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, had previously announced his intention to seek a re-match.

Responding to Bachmann’s retirement announcement, Graves followed suit. Over the weekend, the Democrat announced that he is “suspending” his 2014 congressional campaign. He is unlikely to re-start his political effort.

Minnesota’s 6th District is the safest Republican seat in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Though Bachmann only barely survived, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney scored a 56.5 – 41.5 percent advantage over President Obama in the district. Romney carried only one other Minnesota CD, the 7th (53.9 percent), ironically represented by Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson.

At this point, neither party has an official 6th District candidate. That will soon change, as a number of Republican hopefuls are about to come forward. Without Graves in the on the Democratic side, the eventual GOP nominee should cruise to election in the fall of 2014.

NC-Senate

The North Carolina Senate race is one of the campaign opportunities that has so far confounded the Republicans. With a vulnerable Democratic incumbent, first-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D), the GOP leadership was surprisingly having trouble recruiting a candidate. In the past few days, that situation has changed.

Thom Tillis, 52, is the Speaker of the NC House of Representatives. First elected to the state House in 2006, Tillis was chosen by his colleagues to lead the chamber when the Republicans captured the majority in the 2010 elections. Late last week he made official his quest for the US Senate.
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Arkansas Gun Ads

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization, founded and largely funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political operation, has launched an air attack against Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor (above). The senator opposed the background check legislation that recently died in the Senate. In response, Pryor launched his own counter-ad (below).

http://youtu.be/m5JDuTkHt20