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New Jersey Governor, and potential 2016 hopeful, Chris Christie announced today that a special election would be held in October to fill the remainder of Frank Lautenberg’s term. Lautenberg, who died at the age of 89 yesterday, was up for re-election in 2014 (he announced earlier in the year that he would retire).
Also announced by Christie, and probably most notable, is the fact that he has yet to announce a placeholder to fill the seat and there will be a special primary that will take place in August to determine the Republican and Democratic nominees.
This is another example in how great Chris Christie is at politics and why he is a force to be reckoned with. He realizes that by rushing the election, he will gain favors with moderate Democrats who might be disillusioned with the national party and continues to come off as a “straight-talkin’ guy” that will likely steamroll his way to re-election in November.
Also, he will go for the jugular against his opponent, state senator Barbara Buono, by putting the election two weeks ahead; he will not share a ballot with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, the charismatic and rising Democrat, is notably chummy with Christie and some Republicans given his VERY close ties to Wall Street but would likely generate more Democrats to the polling booth.
The larger Christie wins by, the more he can trump the fact that he is liked by both Democrats, independents and Republicans as winning in a blue state such as New Jersey can only be a massive plus. Christie hasn’t exactly done an immaculate job as Governor (given the fumbles his administration has had over education funding, vetoing same sex marriage, etc.) but he has mattered public relations better than any politician out there.
While I still truly believe he will have lots of trouble in the Republican primaries, I still see Christie as a true force in Republican politics but he runs a risky path. As the 2014 midterms inch their way forward, Christie is going to have to do things for the party to increase his stature. He’s going to have to not just endorse candidates he likes but also go out and fight for them and fundraise.
Will Christie be willing to tarnish his reputation a tad by fighting alongside Mitch McConnell or Paul Broun? I don’t see Christie as a team player but moreso as someone who will fight for his public persona as a “maverick” or a “tell-it-like-it-is” type figure. He’s an individualist who is enhancing his public image and regardless of party, he’s doing a masterful job of doing such that.
Christie is getting what he wants and that is a likely huge electoral triumph. Democrats get what the want (aka Booker) in getting their seat back sooner and while its a waste of taxpayers’ money, that likely won’t make much of a difference to New Jersey (or national) voters.
So…well played, Christie.