Governor Christie stood by his decision to hold a special election to fill Frank Lautenberg’s U.S. Senate seat and said he doesn’t think the abbreviated election cycle benefits any one candidate. “If people want to sue, let them go to the courts, that’s what the courts are there for,” Christie said during a State House news conference. “And we’ll rise or fall on that basis, but I certainly have no second thoughts about it.” Peg Shaffer, the chairwoman of the Somerset County Democratic Committee, filed a legal challenge to the special election date Monday. The state Attorney General has until Tuesday to file a response with the Appellate Division. Holding a separate special election will cost about $12 million. In addition, Christie’s opponent in the November election, state Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, is circulating a petition demanding Christie move the special election to November.
Four Democrats: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, and two Republicans: former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Piscatway doctor Alieta Eck filed petitions by today’s deadline to run in the August primary election. In the interim former Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa was sworn in Monday afternoon to fill the seat until a new senator is elected.
Independent candidates have until Aug. 13 to file petitions to run in the Oct. 16 special election.
Asked whether the shortened election cycle would handicap the race, Christie said most of the candidates are well-known, so it wouldn’t have an impact. Lonegan, a conservative Republican, has twice run for governor, and the four Democrats hold elected office. Eck, a political newcomer, had not filed at the time of Christie’s remarks.