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Court: Special Senate Election Can Stay In October

A New Jersey court has ruled a special U.S. Senate election can be held in October, as it was scheduled by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with Senator Frank Lautenberg at a Statehouse meeting about Superstorm Sandy in November
Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with Senator Frank Lautenberg at a Statehouse meeting about Superstorm Sandy in November (Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen)

The election is being held to pick who will complete the term of former Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died last week at age 89.

“Without question, the Governor was authorized to call a special election in this circumstance,” state Superior Court Judge Jane Grall wrote.The court did not rule on the judgement of having two elections so close and said it was a  “matter of speculation” if it was a burden on voters.

Christie scheduled the election for Oct. 16, 20 days before the general elections. Democrats sued, saying it should be held the day voters are going to the polls anyway.

DOCUMENT: Read The Court's Ruling

State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democrat candidate for governor took the opportunity of the ruling to criticize Christie and believes voters will be disenfranchised . He chose to waste $24 million of taxpayers’ money,’ said Buono of the estimated cost of the primary and general election, ticking off programs the money could be spent on. She called for Christie to “do the fiscally responsible thing and move the election to November.”

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak told the Star-Ledger the court decision came as no surprise. “Governor Christie followed the law as established by the legislature and ensured New Jersey voters would have a voice and a choice – in both a primary and general election – in selecting the next U.S. Senator for New Jersey,” he told the newspaper.
Four Democrats and two Republicans have filed petitions to run in the Senate race, with Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker seen as the front-runner.

FULL COVERAGE: Special Senate Election

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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