NJ Court: Special Senate Election Can Stay in Oct.

The election is being held to pick who will complete the term of former Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died last week at age 89

Thursday, Jun 13, 2013  |  Updated 7:13 PM EDT
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Constituents Remember Frank Lautenberg

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Gov. Chris Christie has a big decision in his hands.

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NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg Dies at 89

One of the most prominent voices in the Senate, Senator Frank Lautenberg has died at the age of 89. Brian Thompson reports on Lautenberg's impact in New Jersey.

Constituents Remember Frank Lautenberg

Constituents and supporters remember Frank Lautenberg as a man always trying to make life better for the weak and vulnerable in society. Jen Maxfield reports.
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A state court ruled Thursday a special U.S. Senate election can be held in October, as it was scheduled by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The election is being held to pick who will complete the term of former Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died last week at age 89.

Christie scheduled the election for Oct. 16, 20 days before the general elections. Democrats sued, saying it should be held the day voters are going to the polls anyway.

Christie's critics have complained that holding the election in October will cost taxpayers unnecessarily. Officials say each election costs the state about $12 million to run.

Democrats said Christie did not want his re-election vote and Legislative elections he's hoping his party wins on the same ballot as Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker, seen as the front-runner in the Senate race and, like Christie, a nationally known figure.

Some conservative Republicans say Christie should have appointed someone to serve the rest of Lautenberg's term, giving Republicans a better chance to hang on to the seat after the term expires in January 2015. The last time New Jersey elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate was in 1972.

Instead, Christie appointed former state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to the Senate, but only until a replacement can be elected. Chiesa, a Republican and confidante of Christie, is not seeking the seat beyond the short stay.

Christie has said he wants voters to be able to decide who represents them and for that democratic say to happen as soon as possible. The popular governor taped a humorous bit defending his position for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on Wednesday. The show was bumped by a triple-overtime NHL playoffs game, but the video, in which Christie slow-jammed the news, was made public Thursday.

Christie and lawyers for the state government argue that it was within Christie's legal right to schedule the election for October. The lawyers also say the election process, featuring Aug. 13 primaries, is not too fast because four Democrats and two Republicans were able to file petitions to run by Monday's deadline.

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