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. Continue reading >
New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, as part of their March 4-10 Garden State survey (702 registered New Jersey voters; 323 Democratic primary voters), studied the upcoming 2014 open Senate race. Their findings present good news for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and suggest that both Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) have quite a bit of ground to close if they intend to enter the race. Of the two, Pallone is likely to run, while Holt’s candidacy is only a possibility.
According to the FDU results, Booker would lead Holt and Pallone 50-7-4 percent, respectively, if a Democratic primary vote were held during the present period. With such a wide spread, either or both of these potential candidates will have to create a negative image of Booker if they are to substantially gain on him. Typically, big city mayors don’t do particularly well in statewide electoral contests normally because the voters not residing in the largest city, and particularly so for rural voters, often have a negative image of big city politics. Therefore, we can expect to see serious questions raised about the city’s government and state of the local economy before Democratic voters go to the polls in June of 2014.
Booker is in equally good shape for the general election. The only potential GOP Continue reading >