SENIOR N.J. SENATE DEAD AT 89; STATE LAW UNCLEAR AS TO WHEN SPECIAL ELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE
UPDATED: 11:34 a.m., 6/3/13
Sad news this morning, Save Jerseyans.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg died this morning of viral pneumonia at age 89, his office said.
The oldest member of the Senate, Lautenberg had struggled with health problems since late last year, when he missed several weeks of votes because of what he said was flu and bronchitis.
The entire Save Jersey family wishes the Senator’s family our very best at this difficult time.
After a period of mourning, the task now falls upon Governor Chris Christie to appoint a new U.S. Senator. We’ve discussed the probable field before. Then things get very interesting.
When will an election occur? We’ll have to wait to hear from Governor Christie. According to the rules as I understand them, folks, this means New Jersey could hold a special U.S. Senate election this fall…
19:3-26. Vacancies in United States senate; election to fill; temporary appointment by governor.
19:3-26. If a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this State in the United States senate, it shall be filled at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless such vacancy shall happen within 70 days next preceding such election, in which case it shall be filled by election at the second succeeding general election, unless the governor of this State shall deem it advisable to call a special election therefor, which he is authorized hereby to do.
The governor of this State may make a temporary appointment of a senator of the United States from this State whenever a vacancy shall occur by reason of any cause other than the expiration of the term; and such appointee shall serve as such senator until a special election or general election shall have been held pursuant to law and the Board of State Canvassers can deliver to his successor a certificate of election.
But then there’s this…
19:27-6. “If the vacancy happens in the representation of this State in the United States Senate the election shall take place at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless the vacancy shall happen within 70 days next preceding the primary election prior to the general election, in which case it shall be filled by election at the second succeeding election, unless the Governor shall deem it advisable to call a special election therefor, which he is authorized hereby to do.”
So the ball is in Governor Christie’s court… I’m no constitutional scholar, but the provisions appear to conflict, one which the GOP Governor appears able to resolve…