Governor Chris Christie appointed New Jersey attorney general Jeffrey Chiesa as the interim senator to fill the late Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat. A special election will be held on October 16, with the primary taking place on August 13. Chiesa, a registered Republican, will not make a later bid for the seat.
“It has become clear to me that Attorney General Chiesa would be the best person to represent the people of the state of New Jersey in the United States Senate,” Christie said in a press conference this afternoon.
Due to the brief length of his time in office, Chiesa emphasized that he has no specific plans for passing any legislation.
“This is something that’s new for me. My first concern is the border security, because that’s the frame of reference I come from… I’ve got a limited time period to contribute,” Chiesa said.
Chiesa has served as the Garden State's attorney general since January 2012. Prior to that, he was Christie’s chief counsel and served on his transition team.
Christie estimated an additional $12 million in costs to hold the special election. He said he believes that his decision to make the temporary appointment was in adherence with the intent of the framers of the Constitution.
There is speculation about Christie’s decision to hold the election in October, with many critics asserting that it is a move to avoid the Democratic voters that are sure to turn out for Newark mayor Cory Booker’s likely Senate run. He has also taken heat for the extra cost of the special election.
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