Skip to comments.Chris Christie’s First Test: Whom he picks to replace Lautenberg will speak volumes.
Posted on 06/04/2013 7:10:19 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The death, at age 89, of Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg has put a wrinkle in the reelection plans of New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The cantankerous Republican enjoys high approval ratings and a chasmic lead over Barbara Buono, a Democratic rival so weak that former governor Brendan Byrne, now the Garden States Democratic elder statesman, has hinted she should think about dropping out.
But the need to appoint an interim replacement for Lautenberg, and to schedule a special election to fill out his term through 2014, has created a pair of new challenges. First, does Christie hold the special election along with the rest of the local and statewide races (including his own) in November of 2013? This is the logical (and fiscally responsible) choice, but Christies candidate will almost certainly square off against Newark mayor Cory Booker, the dynamic Democrat who forewent challenging the governor to explore a Senate bid. Bookers presence would drum up Democratic turnout (especially black turnout) and could make what appears set to be a runaway win for Christie a little more interesting.
Whom Christie selects to take Lautenbergs seat in the interim will both affect and be affected by these considerations. Does he go with a placeholder with no intention to run to retain the seat? Does he pick a serious contender who can at least mount a credible challenge to Booker, and hope to boost that contenders chances with his own coattails? Does he appoint a Democrat, with an eye on conceding the Senate race to boost his own bipartisan credentials for 2013 (and 2016)?
To political junkies, this is prime cud for the chew. So lets do a bit of old-fashioned speculating, and take a look at a few possible picks and what each could/would mean this year and beyond.
THE INSIDER PICK: LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR KIM GUADAGNO
Guadagno is actually New Jerseys first lieutenant governor (who by law concurrently serves as state secretary of, well, state) and the first statewide officeholder elected as part of a gubernatorial ticket. Her appointment would thus be as close as Christie could get away with to appointing himself, and would put a close ally in the Senate. Like the governor, Guadagno is a former federal prosecutor with a reputation for taking on corruption in both parties. She also served as the first female sheriff of Monmouth County. Though she has limited legislative experience, my guess is shed be a typically moderate northeastern GOPer with a law-and-order streak. What would her appointment signal? Depends. If Guadagno doesnt have grander political ambitions, shed be the perfect interim pick, and even a brief tour of the Senate would set her up for a comfortable transition to the private sector. It could also add to a résumé for future runs. Fun fact: Guadagno was born in Waterloo, Iowa.
THE PARTY PICK: TOM KEAN JR.
Tom Kean Jr. is the heir-apparent-at-large in New Jersey Republican politics. Son of the former governor and 9/11 Commission co-chair, Kean has elite credentials, including degrees from Dartmouth and Tufts (at the latter of which he is finishing a doctorate in international relations), and he is the Republican leader in the state senate. His appointment would signal Christies desire, and Keans, to contest the Senate race. Indeed, Kean ran a tight race against Senator Bob Menendez in 2006, and with Christies aggressive backing and assumed coattails he could make it interesting at the polls.
THE STATESMAN PICK: TOM KEAN, SR.
See above. Kean was governor from 19821990 and is still widely respected and up for public service. But at 78, his appointment would pretty much send the opposite signal of his sons. Hed be an old pro keeping the seat warm.
THE UTILITY PICK: JOE KYRILLOS A 25-year vet of the New Jersey legislature, Kyrillos, too, squared off against Menendez, though he fared worse than Kean. Kyrillos is a bit more conservative than the average New Jersey Republican, with a strong pro-growth and anti-tax record. He is also a key Christie ally, chairing the governors 2009 campaign and serving as one of his chief proxies in the state house. His appointment would thus split the difference between the placeholder and contender paths a Christie ally rewarded for his yeoman-like 2012 race, who could also give you a respectable, veteran presence in a 2013 or 2014 special.
THE WILDCARD PICK: CORY BOOKER Christie could broaden his appeal among state (and national) Democrats by throwing a curve and appointing Cory Booker, who was already the favorite to take the seat in 2014. As it is, Christie has effectively killed Booker with kindness, striking up a cozy relationship with the Newark mayor and making it difficult for Booker to criticize him. Sending Booker to the Senate would make it more difficult still, especially in 2016, by which time Booker could well be a national figure. Of course, Booker is just the most juicy of the Democrats Christie could pick. Appointing any Democrat would have a similar effect (and youd better believe it would tick off Republicans).
THE MACHIAVELLIAN PICK: FRANK PALLONE
This will almost certainly not happen, but appointing the Democratic congressman would be a Godfather-esque divide-and-conquer move by Christie. Pallone is a big cog in the states Democratic machine, and party insiders prefer him to the free-agent Booker, who hasnt paid them the requisite tribute. Pallone has a war chest, and will mount a real primary threat to Booker. Imagine if he did so as an incumbent? Things might get ugly for the Democrats.
MY PICK: BRUCE HARRIS
If you want my two cents (and if youve read this far, I assume you do), a little-known mayor from Morris County is the solution to all of Christies problems. Bruce Harris, former councilman and current mayor of tony Chatham, N.J., is a smart (MBA/JD) and solid GOP man and a Christie ally. Hes also black. And openly gay. Appointing someone with Harriss background would let Christie signal his broad appeal while at the same time mollifying state and national Republicans by sending a guy to Washington with the right letter next to his last name. The only downside to Harris is a lack of legislative experience, but the Christie shop could sell it as sending a small-town citizen-mayor to bring common sense to Washington. Christie wanted Harris for a court spot but was stymied by a partisan confirmation vote. The United States Senate would be a nice consolation prize.
Daniel Foster is NROs news editor.
Christie has already burnt his bridges with Republicans on the national stage. His future lies in securing a second term as Governor in deep blue NJ. He is going to appoint a Democrat. Would not be shocked to see him flip parties himself either.
Setting up for the Crist/Christie War on America Tour.
Count on it.
Maybe even a ‘Rat — out of “fairness”
He will make the Dems very happy.
The much celebrated death of the laut.......... Can’t say that I’ll shed any tears over that asshat. Whatever/whoever crispy picks will still be a uselss POS. New Jersey politicians aren’t much better than chitown pols. I’m sure there a a few exceptions. Besides which, jerry rivera said he’s up for the job. LOL! What an assclown.
This idiot author refuses to acknowledge all the previous “Tests” that Christie has already failed.
Only to a moderate/liberal would Christie be acceptable.
Now... imagine if Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock hadn’t deep-sixed their candidacies in 2012... we’d see the Senate on the verge of flipping to the GOP by now.
While he’s pondering he’s collecting millions from radical leftist billionaires. I wonder what they think they’re buying.
Picking Pallone or Booker would be a huge “EFF YOU” to everyone on the GOP side of the aisle.
Well, clearly he should appoint a Democrat, because the people in an open and free and clean election elected Lauten....
Oh, wait a minute.....
Democrats are giving him money. I heard on the radio today, WABC, that Soros has given him money.
Democrats are giving him money. I heard on the radio today, WABC, that Soros has given him money.
Picking Pallone or Booker would be a huge EFF YOU to everyone on the GOP side of the aisle.”
And would probably ensure that he is the GOP nominee, and the next-in-loser to Hillary.
I find it hard to believe that there are not any better conservative candidates that Christie could pick in NJ.
But I guess that’s what happens in Liberal Northeast States where the GOP is basically dead.
Reaching Across the Isle - 110
Presented by Professors John McCain and Barack Obama
One guy to make the sales pitch, and the other guy to seal the deal.
Christy Creame is just a fat a$$ Charlie Crist.
Come on, we all know where Christie is going.
He’s a senior RINO apprentice and he’s going for full RINOcity...e.g....he’ll come out of the closet soon and declare himself a dim-bulb-crat faster than one can say FUBO.
The obvious picks: Steve Forbes, Lou Dobbs, or Stuart Varney
Have no clue who rolly polly will choose. If chooses one of the above, he could get back into my good graces.
My guess is he won’t. He will leave the GOP like Lincoln Chafee and Jim Jeffords. The NE seems hopeless.
If Soros is giving him money, I’d expect McCain to be phoning in too. McCain has a working relationship with Soros. And John loves to council folks to do Leftist stuff.
When Brown was elected to the Senate, McCain had him in his office within 48 hours.
I’m sure Obama has also been quietly assuring him they can keep any real threats to his re-election off the Democrat ticket.
He will do what his new BFF tells him to.
I figure he will pick a Democrat.
He is almost one himself.
Christie, with his appointment, will be telegraphing where his real loyalties lie. Remember when John Chafee died and moderate governor Jodi Rell appointed Chafee’s son Lincoln to the seat. Lincoln Chafee voted with the democrats on nearly everything, became and independent “because the republican party has moved away from me” and is now a democrat.
We all know where this leads. A moderate appointment will vote with the democrats. Christie will be re-elected but once he’s gone the democrats will take the governor’s office and hold it for a while because both democrats and moderate republicans goal is to splinter the opposition to the democratic party so they can always win.
I’m sure Chuck Schumer has already been on the phone to Christie to ensure that whomever Christie appoints will be a yea vote on the immigration bill.
Christie already got his marching orders from Obama last week.
RE: Steve Forbes, Lou Dobbs, or Stuart Varney
Stuart Varney? That’ll be a first... a senator with a British accent.
RE: Christy and Obama cut the deal on the boardwalk last week
WHAT ??? Lautenberg was still alive then.
Better than the NJ accent!!!!!!
Quote, by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick for a U.S. Senate seat appointment.
Why doesn’t Christie just get on with it and officially declare himself a Democrat? Sheesh!
Obama is on the phone right now, telling Christie that The Boss, Bruce Springsteen is ready to enter the political arena. And who else could heal the partisan wounds better.
And Christie with tears in his eyes manages to get out a choked, "YES!"
Quote, by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. About his pick for a U.S. Senate seat appointment.
“Would not be shocked to see him flip parties himself either.”
I think he will. He might switch to dem, but I can see him doing the independent sidestep-n-shuffle routine.
ohh.....please please PLEASE let Bruce Springsteen run for public office as a Democrat! These days he is barely coherent if you ask him whether he wants another beer.
He will do whatever Obozo tells him in order to keep the hurricane Sandy money flowing.
The Dems will sue to have the election for the senate this Fall. He needs to wait before making the appointment... He needs to demonstrate he will play hardball
THE CONSERVATIVE PICK: JOE CONNOR
Joseph F. Connor works with the Breitbart organization and has written for Human Events and othter conservative publications. He actively supports the Tea Party. I believe he lives in North Jersey.
Speak volumes????? You mean like waiting for hitler to conquer Poland would tell volumes?????
How absolutely pathetic is it that the National Review is considering which Marxist Democrat Christie might pick, without a trace of shock or horror that he just might do it?
Lautenberg has been a vegan's delight since about 2010 ... his senility was apparent to all and he was on the ropes for a couple of weeks before he assumed room temperature ... they cut the deal to set cory booker up for a quick short run with no GOP candidate with any recognition around