The state Senate approved a bill Thursday that seeks to end special elections in New Jersey to fill congressional vacancies and instead let voters choose replacements in the general election. The bill (S1737) would also require the governor to choose someone of the same political party when filling any vacancies in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. The proposal is all but sure to face rejection from Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed a similar measure in 2013.
At that time, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), was responding to Christie’s decision to call a special election to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy after U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) died on June 3.
Democrats wanted Christie to hold the special election for Lautenberg’s seat the same day he and candidates for all 120 seats in the Legislature were on the ballot. The governor, however, called the Senate special election for a month before the general election.