Gov. Chris Christie today called for a special election on Oct. 16 to replace U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at the age of 89.
The October special election means the primary will be held on Aug. 13.
Christie said he decided to opt for the October special election because it’s the quickest way possible to get someone who has been chosen by the people of the state in the seat.
“I want to have an elected senator as soon as possible,” he said. “I think it’s vitally important.”
Under New Jersey statute 19:27-6 Christie has the option of calling for an early special election and doing so has the benefit of keeping the race off the November ballot that features the gubernatorial contest. However, two statutes govern the succession and their language is conflicting.
“Both statutes provide that if the governor deems it advisable to call a special election they can do so,” he said. “I’ve deemed it advisable.”
Christie dismissed the cost of holding a special election, arguing the benefits of having a New Jersey representative in the U.S. Senate outweigh the cost to the state – which some estimate could reach about $24 million.
“The costs cannot be measured against the value,” he said. “The citizens of New Jersey need to have an elected representative.”
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