As many may know, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenburg passed away at the age of 89 earlier this month, leaving a vacant NJ senate seat. You may not know that Frank Lautenburg started his political career in 1982 and was the last remaining WWII Veteran in Senate.
I was not sure of the protocol for electing a new senator in this situation, but after researching the issue I found that the Governor has the responsibility of appointing a representative of his or her choice. However, Gov. Christie appears to disagree with the standard procedure and feels that holding a special election is the proper method to find a new Senator for the Garden State. Critics of the election argue that New Jersey is already financially burdened, and this money could be utilized more diligently. Republicans are also dismayed that Christie didn’t use this opportunity to strengthen the party’s presence in Senate by appointing a Republican to the seat. Christie has stated that he believes holding an election is the only way to ensure a representative is elected who will be active in Senate and be a true representative of the people and not of party interests.
Christie feels that holding a special election will prevent a scenario in which New Jersey has an appointed representative who feels less accountable to the people because he was appointed rather than elected. Instead, their allegiance would lie with the Republican Party who appointed them to the position.
In my opinion the special election may not be the best idea for NJ right now since the state could definitely use the money to continue revitalizing shore communities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Most of NJ is operational for the summer tourism season, but there is still tons of work to do to restore infrastructure along the shore. The boardwalks are not finished, work on beaches continues, and many businesses are still struggling after having to pay for damages resulting from the storm. Large amounts of rain in the early summer has further inhibited these restorative efforts and may lead to more spending by the state to aid local public works.
That all being said, I still understand why Christie is doing this. To most of the public, especially New Jersians, it has become very apparent that Christie has his eye on making a run for the Presidency in 2016. This special election is clearly an effort to reach across the aisle and show the Democrats that he is willing to work across party lines to find solutions to issues. Following Hurricane Sandy, Christie has been very active in conversing with the POTUS and very public in his comments (both in support and in criticism) concerning his feelings towards the Federal Government’s handling of Sandy recovery efforts and aid. This, in combination with his recent lap band surgery would seem to prove that Christie is in no way trying to hide his intentions.
Anyone, regardless of their political affiliation, who doesn’t think Christie would make a great president clearly doesn’t know the guy. He is very outspoken and passionate about issues and holds himself accountable for government actions. If the election for 2016 happened today he would definitely have my vote. A president who is willing to put party politics aside and get things done is exactly what this country needs right now. Being that the Republican Party seems to be growing further and further out of touch with the average American (For example, Rep. Todd Akin thinking a female body can “shut down” a pregnancy before it occurs after a rape), a man of the people who wants to deal with issues rather then just talk about them like Christie is exactly what the party needs.
If you don’t like Christie or feel like you don’t know him well enough, take a look at him on Jimmy Fallon’s show Wednesday night. You’ll definitely have a good laugh and get a taste of the man that could very well be leading our country in the near future.
– Jayto Descartes with help from 5centgypsy