Christie appoints NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa as interim Senator

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa will be the next senator from New Jersey, serving until a replacement for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg is chosen in an October special election.

Governor Chris Christie announced the appointment at a news conference on Thursday.

Chiesa will take office next Monday. He will not be a candidate in the special election, Christie said, saying he was “comfortable” with that fact.

When asked, Chiesa said he was “a registered Republican.”

Christie said that he asked Chiesa to take the position on Monday evening, the same day as Lautenberg’s death. He said Chiesa texted him on Tuesday to tell him, “I’m in.”

“I knew this day might come, Sen. Lautenberg had been ill, and I knew that this day might come, so I didn’t just start thinking about this on Monday,” Christie said, explaining the quick turn around.

Lautenberg, a former Automatic Data Processing executive, served a total of 29 years in the Senate over two non-consecutive periods. At 89, he was the oldest living senator when he died Monday.

Chiesa said the request was “unexpected, for sure.”

Christie scheduled a special election for October 16. A primary will be held August 13. Christie’s decision to schedule the special election three weeks before the New Jersey gubernatorial election drew extensive amounts of criticism, particularly from Republicans. Candidates wishing to run in the special election must gather the required number of signatures by Monday.

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