Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
New Jersey bad boy Governor Chris Christie was faced with a no-win situation following the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Due to conflicting state laws, Christie could appoint a Republican to fill this Democratic seat and give this Republican appointee a little more than a year to build a base of support before standing for election in 2014. This would have been blatantly partisan and hurt Christie's voter turnout with moderates and Democratic cross-over voters who have bought into his recent bipartisan shtick in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Or Christie could appoint a Republican to temporarily fill this Democratic seat and call for a special election this year, to coincide with his own reelection effort this November. 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, and the Democratic nominee is likely to be popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker, whose base of supporters may turn out to vote for his Democratic challenger. This would also jeopardize down ballot Republicans in state legislative races.
So what did New Jersey's bad boy do? Apparently Christie is a Star Trek fan. Like Captain James T. Kirk who cheated on the no-win Kobayashi Maru scenario, Christie reprogrammed his options to create a third outcome that works to his benefit because, for this narcissist, "It's all about me, baby!"
Christie created a scenario that combines voter fatigue with subtle voter suppression. He called for a special election with a primary in August, and the general election in October — on a Wednesday. This has all the appearances of creating a Democratic election in October for the Senate seat that Cory Booker is favored to win, and a Republican election in November that Chris Christie is favored to win.
The special election will be a low turnout event, as are all special elections. The added quirk of holding it on a Wednesday is a subtle form of voter suppression. I can imagine the fliers and robo-calls going out to Democratic voters telling them to vote on the traditional Tuesday. This confusion may benefit the GOP nominee for Senate.
Assuming that Cory Booker is elected Senator in October, voter fatigue and disinterest in the governor's race may cause many Democrats to stay at home in November. This inures to the benefit of Christie, and quite probably to Republicans running in down ballot legislative races.
Despite this ingenious plan to benefit Republicans, they are nevertheless pissed at Governor Christie today because of his willingness to sacrifice a U.S. Senate seat to inflate his own numbers in his reelection bid for governor, and presumed interest in running for president.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger is particularly harsh in its assessment of Governor Christie in this editorial opinion, Christie's self-serving stunt: Editorial:
Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to hold the U.S. Senate election three
weeks before the general election in November is a shameless move that
will waste at least $12 million and risk the integrity of the vote. For
him to present it as a high-minded attempt to empower voters shows what
nerve the guy has.
There is no legitimate reason to hold two separate elections, and the
reason he’s doing it is purely self-serving. He calculates that more
Democratic voters will show up and cast ballots against him if a popular
Democratic candidate like Newark Mayor Cory Booker is on the ballot as
well. Given the big lead the governor has already, the greed here is
striking: He apparently wants to run up his margin of victory as a
credential for his 2016 presidential campaign.
Remember, this is the same governor who opposed early voting by
citing the extra costs. It seems different rules apply when he stands to
The governor has the unchallenged power to appoint an interim
replacement for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday. The
question is what comes next.
He could have allowed his appointee to serve until November 2014,
cutting voters out of the process altogether. That would have been tough
to justify in a state where voters have not sent a Republican to the
Senate in more than four decades. So the governor was right to reject
He could have allowed each party to pick its own candidate without a
primary, effectively placing the decision in the hands of party bosses.
Again, he was right to insist on a primary. The $12 million cost of that
[primary] election is justified.
But why hold the special Senate election on Oct. 16? Some Republicans
claim state law bans special elections on the same day as regular
elections. But that strained reading of the law has never applied
before. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.) won a special election last
year to replace his late father on the same day he won a primary
election to serve a full term in his own right.
Aside from wasting $12 million, Christie’s stunt could create havoc
with the November vote. If the Oct. 16 vote is challenged, voting
machines could be impounded as a legal fight plays out, which typically
takes a month or two. Democrats may have grounds to sue over this
But ask yourself this: Why should they have to? What legitimate
reason does the governor have to risk the integrity of the November
This is naked self-interest. And as skillful as the governor is at political spin, that fact is obvious to all.
Governor Chris Christie's narcissism may have just cost him any chance he had to be the GOP nominee in 2016.