Special Election Senate Race Unofficially Begins
Less than 24 hours after Gov. Chris Christie announced a special election will be held to permanently fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg at least four people are considering running in the election.
No one has made an official announcement but the rumor mill is churning out names. Sixth congressional district Congressman Frank Pallone, who had expressed an interest in running in the 2014 election, is said to be ready to officially declare his candidacy. He has $3.7 million in campaign funds according to the Star Ledger.
His Chief of Staff, Jeff Carroll, would not confirm Pallone's plans. “The congressman lost a dear friend (Monday), and he doesn’t want to talk politics today,” Carroll tells the Star Ledger. “He doesn’t think it’s appropriate and wants to be respectful of the senator’s memory. We’ll have a decision and announcement after the senator’s funeral.”
Lautenberg's funeral is today in New York. His body will be brought to the Lautenberg train station in Secaucus and travel to Washington via train where he will lie in state at the Capital on Friday. The World War II veteran will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
More Congressional Consideration
Rush Holt (D) from the New Jersey's 12th Congressional District is also considering a run for the seat according to the Asbury Park Press, which reports he has told three Democrat county chairs of his intentions.
Also considering a run is 1st Congressional District representative Rob Andrews (D) according to Politico.
Some Democrats are unhappy that the candidates started working on campaigns before Lautenberg's funeral according to Politico. However there is little time to waste as the deadline to file a petition with 1,000 signatures of registered voters from their party is Monday at 4:00 p.m.
On the Republican side, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan is thinking over a run according to the Star Ledger. He currently leads the New Jersey chapter of the conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity. State Senators Joe Kyrillos, who lost the election to Bob Menendez in November and Tom Kean Jr. are other possible Republicans for the special election.
Talk show host Geraldo Rivera, who expressed his intention to run as a Republican, took himself out of the race on his daily radio show on Monday.
Cory Booker's Timetable Speeds Up
Christie's decision has changed the plans for Newark Mayor Cory Booker who until Lautenberg's death was the only serious candidate in the race for a 2014 election. He had been taking his time putting together a political organization for a Senate run and had actively been fundraising around the country.
“Cory wanted to build till 2014,” one veteran Democratic operative told Politico. “He wanted to hit January 2014 with an incredible sum in the bank … this really puts him in scramble mode.”
Booker will also have to consider his promise to fill out his term as mayor, something he potentially could not do if he runs in the special election.