With the passing of Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is facing a tough decision. It’s his job to appoint a replacement, and this is going to be an interesting time in my home state. Get the popcorn ready and pull up a seat, should be quite the show. However, before he names the replacement, there is a bit of confusion whether this person would serve until this November, or next November, and then there would be a special election. The winner of that election would serve the remaining two months of Lautenberg’s term, then start a full term in January of 2015. While the powers that be struggle to figure out this mess, the people of New Jersey are waiting with baited breath to see which way Christie will go.
Frank Lautenberg was a Democrat, so there are those who think it is only “fair” that Christie pick another Democrat to serve in the Senate, and the name that pops up the most is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Booker had already announced he intended to run for Lautenberg’s seat in November 2014. Of course, New Jersey is a bluer than blue state, even though we have a Republican Governor. Obama won here by about 18 points.
On the flip side, those of us on the right are determined to get another Conservative in the Senate, even for the short term. If Christie does go this way there are a few names that appear on a short list: Assemblyman Jon Brammick, State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., Legislator Joe Kyrillos, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Jay Webber. None of these selections are strong Conservatives, save Webber; we really don’t grow them in this part of the country. They tend to be more fiscally conservative and socially moderate, or even liberal.
But this is where the real fun begins–Chris Christie is running for re-election right now. His approval numbers are so high, most people have stopped polling and the only Democrat brave (or stupid) enough to run against him is Barbara Buono. I think the last poll I saw had Christie up by a gazillion points (more or less). So we can all say that without a doubt, Christie will get another 4 years as “The Governor”. But what about a White House run in 2016? Christie has not come out and said he is throwing his hat in the ring. For now, New Jersey is his priority. However he did have lap-band surgery a few months back and has already lost over 40 pounds. The Garden State governor agreed to the operation at the urging of family and friends after turning 50 last September. “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he said. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.” He also insisted that, contrary to what observers may say the effort to slim down was not motivated by thoughts of a presidential bid. “It’s so much more important than that,” he said.
Personally, I’m pretty confident he is thinking of changing his address from Trenton to D.C., but only time will tell. And his current pick might too. Does he do what’s best for him now, or look ahead to a POTUS run in 2016? From The Hill:
“The GOP governor risks hurting his favorability among Democrats in this November’s gubernatorial election if he appoints a conservative candidate to the seat that Lautenberg, a liberal, held for 30 years. But choosing a strong conservative could boost his fortunes with national Republicans, whose support he’ll need if he runs for president in 2016.”
Here is my prediction: Christie will wind up on the “right” side of this dilemma. He will choose a Conservative to fill the seat. I’m thinking it’s a toss-up between Kean and Kyrillos. He might ruffle a few feathers on the left, but he is willing to take the chance that they will still pull the lever for him come November. He is gunning (yes, I chose that word to mess with liberals) for the big show in 2016. Pass the Raisinetts please!
Written by Debby Wolf
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