Governor Chris Christie just completed a press conference announcing his choice to represent New Jersey in the US Senate until the October special election to fill the remaining year of the late Frank Lautenberg’s term. Christie appointed Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, who will not run in the special election:
Gov. Chris Christie today named state attorney general Jeffrey Chiesa to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Christie’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.
Christie told the presser that he had been thinking about this choice off and on for a while, knowing of Lautenberg’s health issues. Chiesa had apparently been foremost in his mind even before Lautenberg’s passing. That may have come as a surprise to Christie’s fellow Republicans, who might have hoped that he would choose someone that could use the time to get a leg up on the short-cycled special election on which Christie insisted. Instead, Chiesa will have no impact on the race, and any Republican candidate will have to emerge from the shadow cast by Chiesa and Christie.
ABC’s Rick Klein asks a good question:
short of picking a Democrat, could Gov. Christie have chosen a process and a person that would benefit national GOP less?
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) June 6, 2013
It’s difficult to imagine how.
More on Chiesa from the AP:
Chiesa, a Republican, was Christie’s chief counsel until he was nominated in December 2011 to be attorney general.
Chiesa has known the governor for more than 20 years. Their relationship began when Christie interviewed Chiesa as a law clerk for the firm Dughi & Hewit. Chiesa would spend nine years in the U.S. attorney’s office before leaving for a short stint as a partner at the law firm of Wolff & Samson. He then worked on Christie’s transition team.
As attorney general, he has overseen gun buyback programs all over the state, but has not had a particularly high profile.
Raised in Bound Brook, he attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergrad and went on to get a law degree from the Catholic University of America. He is married with a son and a daughter.
Sounds as though he would have made a pretty good candidate for the job in a special election, except for the low profile.