Since talk of octogenarian Frank Lautenberg's mortality has already crossed the political correctness line, here's one more thing to consider: the election of a Republican governor makes it less likely that Lautenberg would resign his seat, even if his health made it impossible for him to serve. The United States Senate has never removed a sitting Senator for incapacitation.
In late 1969, 69-year-old Karl Mundt, a Republican Senator from South Dakota, suffered a stroke. Despite his disability, he refused to resign and completed the remaining three years of his term without ever returning to the Senate floor. In early 1972, Senate Republicans, in a relatively close 19-14 vote, took Mundt's committee assignments.
When Democrat Richard Kneip was elected Governor of South Dakota in 1970, Republicans pressured Mundt to step down so that the outgoing GOP governor could appoint his replacement. Mundt declined. For the final three years of Mundt's fourth term, his office was run by his wife and his top aide. If Lautenberg were to become incapacitated, his Chief of Staff, Dan Katz, would effectively be the state's Senator.