Gov. Chris Christie’s scheme gets complicated

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

When Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) announced a special election last week to fill the U.S. Senate seat of deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg, I pointed out that "While the GOP senate nominee might benefit from running with Christie on
the same ballot, there is a risk that the GOP nominee might be a Tea
Party crazy whom Christie would have to distance himself from…"

That was prophetic. The New Jersey GOP is going with a Tea Party / Koch brothers tool as their "Great White Hope" against what most political observers believe will be Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Talking Points Memo reports, Tea Party Fave Is The GOP’s Great Senate Hope In Jersey:

The deadline for candidates to file for the special election to fill the
Senate seat formerly occupied by the late Frank Lautenberg passed at 4
p.m. Monday. As the deadline approached, Steve Lonegan remained the only
well-known Republican who has declared his intention to enter the race.
Lonegan is a former mayor with a colorful history who, most recently,
has been leading a local activist group funded by the Koch Brothers.

* * *

Lonegan made a name for himself in the political realm as the mayor of the
small town of Bogota, N.J., a position he held for three terms from 1995
until 2007.

* * *

[His] last campaign included a major controversy over Lonegan’s plan to
close the local public high school. One of Lonegan’s strategies involved
printing his own newspaper in the town and using it to aggressively
attack his rivals.

In 2006, Lonegan received national attention when he called for a
boycott after a local McDonald’s put up a billboard with a
Spanish-language advertisement for iced coffee. Lonegan described the billboard as “divisive” and argued it sent the message that immigrants should not learn English.

“English is the language that binds us as a community and as a country,” Lonegan said. “This billboard says, ‘You Hispanics can’t learn English.’ … It’s really sending the wrong message.”
He subsequently attempted to hold a referendum making English the official language in Bogota. That bid was rejected
after an attorney for the county clerk deemed it “outside of the scope
of a local government question.” Lonegan also attempted to use the local
police force to crack down on illegal immigrants.

* * *

Lonegan’s campaigns outside of Bogota haven’t met with similar success.
In 1998, ran for the House seat in what was then New Jersey’s Ninth
Congressional District. He was defeated by incumbent Rep. Steve Rothman,
after getting about 34 percent of the vote. Seven years later, in 2005, Lonegan ran for the Republican nomination for governor. He came in fourth place.

* * *

After finishing his three terms in Bogota, Lonegan became the New Jersey
state director of Americans For Prosperity, an activist group dedicated to promoting
“limited government and free markets on the local, state, and federal
levels” that was founded by the billionaire Koch Brothers. In 2007, he
made headlines when police discovered
he hired two illegal immigrants to assemble Americans For Prosperity
lawn signs in his garage. He defended himself by insisting the men told
him they had proper documentation.

* * *

Last year, Lonegan spent the presidential election participating in
Americans For Prosperity’s “Obama’s Failing Agenda” bus tour. At a
Manhattan rally for the tour, he compared President Barack Obama to Fidel Castro.

Gov. Christie's plan to hold this special election in October so that this guy does not appear at the top of the ballot with him is now subject to a legal challenge. The AP reports Democratic official sues over NJ Senate election | Enquirer-Herald:

A Democratic party official in northern New
Jersey is challenging Gov. Chris Christie's authority to call a special
election in October to complete the U.S. Senate term of the late Frank
Lautenberg.

The lawsuit brought by Somerset County Democratic
County Chairwoman Peg Schaffer claims the election is illegal and an
attempt to suppress the vote.

Schaffer said her law firm asked for
and received permission from the state appellate division to file a
motion for emergent relief. She says the suit wasn't filed on behalf of
the county party.

Schaffer wants the special election, scheduled for Oct. 16, to occur
on the same date as the November general election in which Christie is
seeking another term.

Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog has a copy of the complaint. Read the complaint. Ah, "The best-laid schemes of mice and men, Go often awry," as Robert Burns once said.

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