Lautenberg ailing…..what if he retires early?

U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg missed work, on doctors orders, for the entire month of March.  On Friday he released a statement saying he will not return to Washington on Monday as the Senate convenes after a two week recess, according to reports in The Star Ledger and Politico.

“I regret that I will not be returning to Washington next week as I continue  treatment for, and recuperate from, muscle weakness and fatigue. My physician  continues to advise me to work from home and not travel at this time,”  Lautenberg said in a statement issued by his office.

Lautenberg added: “I am disappointed I will not be present for the opening of  the debate on gun legislation in the Senate. It is an issue I am deeply  passionate about, and my victories over the gun lobby are among my proudest  accomplishments. I am, however, gratified that my legislation to ban  high-capacity ammunition magazines will be one of the key amendments offered to  this bill.”

Lautenberg will also miss the confirmation of U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a nomination that was initially blocked by New Jersey’s junior senator, Bob Menendez.

“I have worked hard since Judge Shwartz’s nomination by President Obama toward her confirmation, and I am confident that she will be confirmed by a strong majority of my colleagues,” Lautenberg said.

Lautenberg, 89, announced in February that he would not seek reelection in 2014.

Should the senate seat become vacant on or before August 27, New Jersey’s election law requires that a successor be elected in the November general election.   If a vacancy occurs after August 27,  the next election for the seat would be on schedule in November of 2014, unless the governor calls for a special election sooner.  Governor Christie could appoint a temporary senator or leave the seat vacant.

 19:3-26. Vacancies in United States senate; election to fill; temporary appointment by governor.

19:3-26. If a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this State in the United States senate, it shall be filled at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless such vacancy shall happen within 70 days next preceding such election, in which case it shall be filled by election at the second succeeding general election, unless the governor of this State shall deem it advisable to call a special election therefor, which he is authorized hereby to do.

The governor of this State may make a temporary appointment of a senator of the United States from this State whenever a vacancy shall occur by reason of any cause other than the expiration of the term; and such appointee shall serve as such senator until a special election or general election shall have been held pursuant to law and the Board of State Canvassers can deliver to his successor a certificate of election.

amended 2011, c.37, s.37.


One would think that Republicans would celebrate the opportunity of Christie appointing a U.S. Senator.  New Jersey has not had a Republican in the U.S. Senate since 1982 when Governor Tom Kean appointed Nicholas Brady to fill Harrison Williams unexpired term.  Williams resigned rather than be expelled after being convicted in the Abscam scandal. Republicans have not elected a U.S. Senator from New Jersey since 1972 when Clifford Case was last elected.  But adding a Senate race to this year’s general election could change the dynamic of the campaign which so far looks as though it will be a blow out for Christie over State Senator Barbara Buono .   Trenton Republicans are hoping that Christie’s coattails and Democrats lack of enthusiasm for Buono can jettison them into majority of one or both houses of the State Legislature.

Adding a Democrat Cory Booker vs  Republican Tom Kean Jr, Joe Kyrillos or Geraldo Rivera Senate contest into the mix of the campaign could bring otherwise unenthusiastic Democrats out to vote with down ballot support.  Or, would Christie’s coattails be strong enough to propel the Republican nominee to victory over Booker, assuming Booker is the Democratic nominee to replace Lautenberg.   Booker is leading the polls to replace Lautenberg by a wide margin.  Most pundits think the power of Christie’s coattails for the legislature will be nil anyway, given the composition of the legislative map.

Republican’s best chance of winning the Senate seat in an election would probably come as a result of Lautenberg retiring after the August 27 deadline to trigger an election this November, but before the end of 2013.  That would give the new Republican incumbent that Christie chooses a leg up in raising money and name recognition for a 2014 race against Booker.

Posted: April 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, 2014 U.S. Senate race, Chris Christie, Cory Booker, Frank Lautenberg, Frank Pallone | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

10 Comments on “Lautenberg ailing…..what if he retires early?”

  1. » Lautenberg ailing…..what if he retires early? – MoreMonmouthMusings said at 4:46 pm on April 7th, 2013:

    […] Lautenberg ailing…..what if he retires early? – MoreMonmouthMusings Go to this article […]

  2. Maybe Pallone Knows Something said at 6:23 pm on April 7th, 2013:

    But be sure, him and Booker are “salivating in the wind.” Who do we have prepped?

    Silence Dogood, Redux

  3. Bob English said at 7:34 pm on April 7th, 2013:

    Hopefully the Senator is healthy enough to return to work ASAP. If not, sometimes a good solution on how to handle appointments to fill/complete an unexpired term is to appoint someone who is respected by both sides who would agree not to run for the seat in the next election. Gov. Kean is a name that comes to mind.

  4. Joe said at 8:49 pm on April 7th, 2013:

    If Lautenberg has to retire soon….problem for Governor — who to choose Senator Kean Jr. or Senator Kryillos. Major personal challenge for Governor due to personal friendship with Joe and long family ties with the older Kean. My best is Joe gets it. Either one then faces off in general in 2013 or 2014 against Pallone. Pallone because he is best funded. Either Republican has a better shot if Lautenberg goes sooner so they are in the ticket this year with the Governor. As a result of that, Lautenberg will hang up until post September of this year or he’ll hang on period until the end of his term.

  5. I have a better idea said at 9:28 pm on April 7th, 2013:

    How about Bellew for Senate. After all, her first try was for a Federal office. State Senate would be a step down for her

  6. Chris said at 9:13 am on April 8th, 2013:

    Andrews challenged Lautenberg 5 years or so ago, in a primary, why wouldn’t he do so next year? Or would he yield to King Booker?

  7. Not sure, said at 9:34 am on April 8th, 2013:

    But I heard Andrews had some problems to clean up, ethics violations. Remember something.

  8. A 2013 U.S. Senate Race?The Save Jersey Blog | The Save Jersey Blog said at 10:04 am on April 8th, 2013:

    […] By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com […]

  9. Knight said at 1:21 pm on April 8th, 2013:

    It will be Kyrillos if Christie gets the opportunity to appoint someone. Why else would the Gov ask Joe to run last fall? He ran as if he just didn’t want to hurt himself. Played it safe to position himself as front runner for an appointment. Just my opinion.

  10. Bob English said at 5:08 pm on April 8th, 2013:

    Not sure if appointing someone who lost the election for the US Senate last November in a landslide is the best route to go.