A day after Gov. Chris Christie told reporters a lawsuit challenging his October special election had no merit, the administration filed its response to the complaint brought by Democratic officials.
The state’s acting attorney general, John Hoffman, argued in court documents that opponents to the special election are merely speculating “assertions of irreparable harm,” saying they failed to demonstrate in their complaint any cause for relief.
The Tuesday afternoon filing is in response to a lawsuit brought by Democrats seeking to challenge the Republican governor’s decision to hold a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg less than a month prior to the November election. The complaint alleges the rights of both candidates and voters will be negatively impacted by Christie’s timeline.
“To ensure that the interests of the people of New Jersey are represented by elected officials as expeditiously as possible, Governor Christie exercised that discretion to issue a writ and call a special election,” reads the administration’s filing. “Unhappy with the writ, appellants come before this court in an attempt to rewrite it.”
The law firm of Shain, Schaffer and Rafanello are seeking emergent relief in the appellate division of the Superior Court.
The administration asserts the complainants’ “relative hardships” don’t favor an injunction and that public interest in the issue outweighs cause for injunctive relief.
“In this case, emergent injunctive relief should be denied because in the weighing of interests, the interests served by a full complement of elected federal officials representing the people of New Jersey in Washington D.C., at the earliest possible date, … far outweighs the individual interests of appellants,” the filing reads. “The August 13 special primary and the October 16 special election for the vacated federal office will assure that the citizens of this state have full congressional representation.”
Earlier in the week, Christie scoffed at the idea that the October election could suppress voter turnout and dismissed the lawsuit as trivial.
“It’s just the way it goes. If they want to go to court, go to court,” Christie said during a Statehouse news conference on Monday. He asserted “all of the complaining” he’s heard from Democratic leaders immediately following Lautenberg’s death last week centered on wanting a senator “right away.”
“I listened. I heard my Democratic friends, they wanted a senator as soon as possible,” Christie said.
“Turnout is up to the candidates,” he went on to say. “If a candidate puts out a vision that excites the electorate, the electorate will come out to support the candidate. If they don’t, they won’t.”