Frank Lautenberg Hub

NJ Governor Chris Christie Appoints Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to Fill Lautenberg Senate Seat

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appointed his longtime aide and the state's attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, to fill the Senate seat held by the late Frank Lautenberg until a special election can be held in October, the Star-Ledger reports:

ChiesaChristie's announcement at a hastily arranged news conference ended days of intense speculation over whom the Republican governor would appoint to serve nearly five months before voters elect a replacement for the 89-year-old Lautenberg, who died Monday.

New Jersey voters haven't sent a Republican to the Senate in four decades.

On Tuesday, Christie made the controversial decision to hold two special elections — an Aug. 13 primary and an Oct. 16 election — to fill the Senate seat at a cost of almost $25 million.

Some Republicans have criticized the approach as a political move on Christie's part, aimed at keeping Newark Mayor Cory Booker — who has expressed interest in the Senate seat — off the November ballot. Booker could attract more Democrats to come out to vote and possibly erode Christie's margin of victory over his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono.

The NYT adds: "Mr. Chiesa served as chief counsel to Mr. Christie from January 2010 through December 2011, when he was nominated to be New Jersey attorney general. Before that, he headed Mr. Christie’s transition team after his election."

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Dies at 89


LGBT ally Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the Senate's oldest member (above, with Justice Elena Kagan), has died at 89, North Jersey reports:

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 death of Lautenberg, a Democrat who was the longest-serving senator in New Jersey history, creates a vacancy that Governor Christie, a Republican, will fill.

Lautenberg returned to Washington in February and announced he would not see k re-election in 2014, but hoped to complete a series of accomplishments before his term ended.

Lautenberg also struggled with B-cell lymphoma. In June 2010 he made an announcement to Garden State Equality that he was cancer-free.


NJ Congressional Delegation (Including the First Republicans in the Nation) Makes 'It Gets Better' Video


Several members of New Jersey's congressional delegation — seven Democrats and three Republicans — appear in a new video for the "It Gets Better" project.

Senators Frank Lautenberg, Robert Menendez, and Representatives Rush Holt, Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires, Donald Payne, Steve Rothman participated, along with Republican Representatives Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, and Jon Runyan.

These are the first — the first — congressional Republicans in the country to appear in an 'It Gets Better' video, which is quite sad in the big picture. It's about time.


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Senator Frank Lautenberg Tells Gay Rights Group He's Cancer-Free


Senator Frank Lautenburg (above with Elena Kagan, in May), who is now the Senate's oldest member as a result of the death of Robert Byrd early this morning, told a gay rights group over the weekend that he is cancer-free:

"Lautenberg made the announcement Saturday at the Garden State Equality Legends Dinner in Maplewood. The 86-year-old Democrat told the gay rights group that his doctor told him Friday: 'It's gone, Frank.' Lautenberg was hospitalized Feb. 15 after falling at his New Jersey home. He was treated for a bleeding ulcer, and it was announced Feb. 19 that B-cell lymphoma was found in his stomach. Lautenberg began chemotherapy treatment and returned to the Senate on March 2."


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