Booker and N.J. Dems still trying to push Lautenberg out of 2014 race

posted at 2:01 pm on January 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In other elderly senator news, New Jersey Democrats are rather unceremoniously nudging Sen. Frank Lautenberg out of the 2014 New Jersey Senate race. When Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced in December he would pass on contesting Gov. Chris Christie, he announced he’d run for Senate instead. Lautenberg had not made an announcement that he’d be retiring, but most politicos assumed Booker had at least consulted with the 89-year-old elder statesman. Turns out he hadn’t, and still hasn’t.

On Sunday shows last week, both of Lautenberg’s potential opponents talked openly about running for his seat while Lautenberg was laid up with the flu—an unfortunate bit of timing that paradoxically makes their comments seem ruder but their desire to run seem more reasonable. Booker even said he’d tried to set up a meeting with Lautenberg but the senator had to reschedule. Let’s hope for a show we can just sit back and watch:

A political action committee, Pac Plus, is already signing up potential Booker supporters online.

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, a regular Lautenberg ally, also wants in, saying on MSNBC on Sunday: “The senator knows that I’d like to run, and I, of course, have been talking about this for a long time. It’s definitely something that I’m considering and I’m interested in.” But Pallone added, “I think maybe we should be worrying about this Senate race a little later. I’m not saying I can’t beat (Booker). I’m just saying we need to concentrate now on getting these (Sandy relief) bills passed in Washington and deal with the Senate race later.”

On Monday, Booker avoided the question of whether he would run in a primary against Lautenberg. “I want to give him the space to make his own decision,” he said on CNN. “I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is, we’ve got a good senator. He’s been loyal. He’s been there for a long time. And I think he’s got a decision to make.”

I know people have their issues with Christie (and he’s getting too Huntsmanesque for me), but it is fun to watch a competent Republican figure reduce the Democratic Party of a blue state to electoral convulsions like this. They may very well have a three-way Democratic primary for a Senate seat and they’ve got no one to run for Governor— in New Jersey. Jim Geraghty covers the dismal state of that race:

At this point, the lone Democrat running against Chris Christie in New Jersey’s 2013 governor’s race is state senator Barbara Buono of Metuchen — a relatively little-known state lawmaker, who begins about 40 points behind the GOP incumbent.

Now there’s word that New Jersey Democrats are so worried about their prospects against Christie that longtime rivals are willing to contemplate a truce over it.

When he became governor in 2009, you couldn’t have found one person who would have predicted New Jersey politics and fiscal policy would look like they do today.


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Bad news: the NJ GOP is in worse shape than the Democrats. They are RINO Central and they have “conservative” organs bad-mouthing Tea Party groups, one week as extremists and the next as socialists ans SNAFU generators.

I’ll let you decide which organ they are.

njcommuter on January 11, 2013 at 2:07 PM

When Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced in December he would pass on contesting Gov. Chris Christie, he announced he’d run for Senate instead. Lautenberg had not made an announcement that he’d be retiring, but most politicos assumed Booker had at least consulted with the 89-year-old elder statesman. Turns out he hadn’t, and still hasn’t.

MKH

.
Great drama for now … but they’ll get Frank “the lout” to concede, I’m sure.

RIGHT FRANK ?

listens2glenn on January 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Give NJ a break – Lautenburg is older than dirt – time for him to move on.

katiejane on January 11, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Jersey currently has a Democrat governor. Why are they concerned about that race?

Illinidiva on January 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

After 30 years in the Senate, Frank Lautenberg’s greatest accomplishment is having a train station named after him in Secaucus.

steebo77 on January 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

…a relatively little-known state lawmaker, who begins about 40 points behind the GOP incumbent.

I swear I read it “about 40 pounds behind the GOP incumbent”. Still no chance, but I’d that kind of race would have a much higher entertainment value.

Archivarix on January 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

In other elderly senator news…

lol…BAM…right outta da gate!

Tim_CA on January 11, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Somebody hand them the Dulcolax; that’s how you push out a Lautenberg.

M240H on January 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM

njcommuter on January 11, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Agree, and the NJ Tea Party groups are similarly disorganized and internally dysfunctional. Can’t we find a reasonable GoP candidate to run against Lautenberg/Pallone/Booker? This should be an easy pick-up.

Upstreamer on January 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Democrats:

If you’re not going to die now, then move aside so you don’t die in office with Christie as Governor you old white bastard! Your usefulness has passed.

Daemonocracy on January 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

When he became governor in 2009, you couldn’t have found one person who would have predicted New Jersey politics and fiscal policy would look like they do today.

Look like what? As awful as ever?

I’m sick of the myth that Christie is somehow a fiscal conservative, slashing budgets, cutting taxes, etc. Yeah, he had some great youtube moments talking down to teachers unions… but look the numbers, NJ is still in awful shape.

Timin203 on January 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM

I can’t believe Chris Crispy Creme Christie could be the next president of the United States. And don’t give me he won’t be. He is likely to win a smashing reelection and then veer to the right a year before the primaries. Unbelievable!

milemarker2020 on January 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

NJ Demorats elected Lautenberg by violating election law. They deserve him.

WannabeAnglican on January 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I can’t believe Chris Crispy Creme Christie could be the next president of the United States. And don’t give me he won’t be. He is likely to win a smashing reelection and then veer to the right a year before the primaries. Unbelievable!

milemarker2020 on January 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Why would he veer right in the Democratic primaries?

Illinidiva on January 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Yeah, Illini, because Democrats regularly cut taxes, reduce spending, wring major concessions from labor unions and address right to life marches…

Guy Benson on January 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Lautenberg should have stayed in the creche, were NJ not so crooked.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Lautenberg should take the dignified out and run for Governor.

amazingmets on January 11, 2013 at 3:02 PM

“He is likely to win a smashing reelection and then veer to the right a year before the primaries.”

Let’s just hope he goes away quietly after he loses them.

cdog0613 on January 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

89 years old?

I know Democrats like their candidates to be incompetent, but do they need to be incontinent too?

UltimateBob on January 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

When he became governor in 2009, you couldn’t have found one person who would have predicted New Jersey politics and fiscal policy would look like they do today.

THIS.

New Jersey state government had been so dysfunctional for so long that nobody thought anyone could do anything about it – sort of like New York City before Giuliani. Dems at that time were sanguine about Christie; they assumed he won only because of Jon Corzine’s disastrous term, that Christie was a neophyte that the legislature could easily roll, and that certainly any Democrat would beat him easily in 2013. I mean hell, they got another Democrat elected even after the Jim McGreevey disaster.

Christie is a really different animal. The pols in Trenton just don’t know what to do with him, still. He put them on their heels immediately when he took office and hasn’t let up.

rockmom on January 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

89 years old?

I know Democrats like their candidates to be incompetent, but do they need to be incontinent too?

UltimateBob on January 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

He will be 90 before the election. Most men deteriorate rapidly once they hit 85.

rockmom on January 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Yeah, Illini, because Democrats regularly cut taxes, reduce spending, wring major concessions from labor unions and address right to life marches…

Guy Benson on January 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Fact is Christie hasn’t cut spending one dime in New Jersey. A brief perusal of the state’s CAFRs will tell you that.

Also, Christie didn’t really cut income taxes per se. He vetoed an increase. State tax rates are where they were when he took office.

steebo77 on January 11, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Christie was a neophyte that the legislature could easily roll,

rockmom on January 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I defy ANYONE to “easily roll” Christie ….

conservative tarheel on January 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I defy ANYONE to “easily roll” Christie ….

conservative tarheel on January 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Uphill or downhill?

steebo77 on January 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

uphill … or even level ground ….

conservative tarheel on January 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Yeah, Illini, because Democrats regularly cut taxes, reduce spending, wring major concessions from labor unions and address right to life marches…

Guy Benson on January 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

And Republicans don’t regularly do campaign events disguised as disaster relief photo ops for Democratic presidents a week before the election. I’m fine with moderate Republicans; I’m from Illinois. But throwing Romney under the bus a week before the election was beyond being a moderate Republican and toward being Charlie Crist/ Jon Huntsman.

Illinidiva on January 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Jersey currently has a Democrat governor. Why are they concerned about that race?

Illinidiva on January 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

If you believe that, you don’t know NJ Democrats at all.

joated on January 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

For all you Chris Christie fans, here is some M2RB.

UltimateBob on January 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Look at the bright side. If Lautenberg keels over while in the Senate, Chris Christie will appoint his successor. No matter how RINO-ish Fatman is, he cannot possibly choose as large a turd as Lautenberg.

Archivarix on January 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, a regular Lautenberg ally, also wants in, saying on MSNBC on Sunday: “The senator knows that I’d like to run, and I, of course, have been talking about this for a long time. It’s definitely something that I’m considering and I’m interested in.” But Pallone added, “I think maybe we should be worrying about this Senate race a little later. I’m not saying I can’t beat (Booker). I’m just saying we need to concentrate now on getting these (Sandy relief) bills passed in Washington and deal with the Senate race later.”

On Monday, Booker avoided the question of whether he would run in a primary against Lautenberg. “I want to give him the space to make his own decision,” he said on CNN. “I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is, we’ve got a good senator. He’s been loyal. He’s been there for a long time. And I think he’s got a decision to make.”

So who are the Republicans going to run for Senate against Pallone, Booker, or Lautenberg? We’ve had enough of Doug Forrester, but who is on the bench ready to run? There are a few Republicans in the U.S. House from NJ, but which of them wants to give up a safe House seat for a risky run for the Senate?

Steve Z on January 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Look at the bright side. If Lautenberg keels over while in the Senate, Chris Christie will appoint his successor. No matter how RINO-ish Fatman is, he cannot possibly choose as large a turd as Lautenberg.

Archivarix on January 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Democrats know this. That’s why Booker and Pallone are saying they want a shot at the seat.

UltimateBob on January 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Blue Communist Red on Blue Communist Red

ReWrite™ engaged on the tease. Why, oh why did we ever let the Rats get away with no longer being the same color as their international cousins?

Steve Eggleston on January 11, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Hey, I remember when the Dems exhumed Lautenberg to replace Bob Toricelli when it looked like he was more likely to go to prison than be re-elected.

Cylor on January 13, 2013 at 3:05 AM