Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange) today announced legislation meant to keep both U.S. Senate seats in Democratic hands in the event of a vacancy.
McKeon’s measure would give the governor 30 days to appoint someone from the same political party as the senator who, for one reason or another, is unable to complete his or her term. It would also do away with the governor’s option to call a quick special election.
"This bill would save taxpayers an estimated $10 million in the cost of an unscheduled statewide election and ensure that New Jersey continues to have full representation in Washington," said McKeon. "It also would honor the will of the electorate by requiring that the appointee be from the same political party as the U.S. Senator elected by voters."
The idea has taken on new life now that Chris Christie, a Republican, has been elected governor and 85-year-old U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park), who turns 86 in January, still has five years left of his term.
Under current law, if there is a vacancy, Christie will be able appoint anybody he wants, regardless of his or her political party.