New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the state will hold a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on Oct. 16. Primaries to determine nominees for the Senate seat will be held on Aug. 13.
By setting up the special election in October, Christie will avoid a conflict with his own election, which is set to be held on Nov. 5. Christie said that New Jersey state law “doesn’t permit” the special election to be held on the same day as the general election.
ABC estimates that the additional election will cost the state an extra $25 million, something for which both conservatives and liberals immediately attacked Christie in what they charged was a politically motivated decision. The timing means that Newark Mayor Cory Booker will not be on the ballot alongside Christie, something that could drive up black and low-intensity voter turnout.
“I don’t know what the cost is, and quite frankly, I don’t care,” Christie said at a press conference in response to those criticisms. “We’re not going to be penny wise and pound foolish around here.”
Christie did not announce an interim replacement for the Senate seat, but said he would do so soon. He also hinted that he would choose a Republican.
“I do have a preference for one party over the other, so that might colour my judgement a little,” Christie said of an interim replacement.
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