Allentown
72° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds

Replacing Lautenberg: Christie decides how to replace late senator

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 03 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 04 2013 05:45:38 PM CDT

Replacing Lautenberg: Christie decides how to replace senator

TRENTON, N.J. -

There's going to be second primary day in New Jersey this year.

This one comes ahead of a special election to replace U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.

The long-serving senator passed away Monday.

Political experts predicted replacing Sen. Lautenberg would be a tricky situation for Christie but by doing it this way he may have dodged a political bullet.

New Jersey voters just cast their votes in one primary but will be back for another  in just a few months.

"This is about guaranteeing the people of New Jersey both a choice and a voice in the process," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Governor Christie has called a special primary August 13th followed by a special general election October 16th to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg.

A move that surprised some political insiders who say Christie was at risk of losing support from both parties based on who he picked to succeed Lautenberg or by waiting until next year to hold an election.

"Avoiding that decision and putting it in the hands of the people was probably a good political move for him. He doesn't have to disappoint conservatives or democrats with this choice and he allows the people to make the choice," said Muhlenberg College political professor Dr. Chris Borick.

Christie says he's fired the starting gun for candidates who want to run for the seat, including the person he will choose to fill the seat until the election.

"If that person determines they want to run great.  If they determine they don't want to run that's great too. It does not matter to me," said Christie.

Another thing that doesn't matter, says Christie, is the cost -- an estimated $24 million,

"In the end the cost associated with having a special primary and general election in my mind cannot be measured against the value of having an elected representative in the United States Senate with so many consequential issues are being debated and determined this year," said Christie.

Some political experts are speculating Christie chose to go the special election route instead of letting the voters decide in the regular general election because this November Christie is on the ballot.  A hotly contested senate seat could boost democrat turnout and impact all races on the ballot.