So just before the 2012 election, a devastating hurricane hit the NY/NJ Shore. Seaside Heights, one of NJ’s biggest tourist locations, was decimated. We all saw the images of the roller coaster floating in the water. Gov. Christie gave President Obama a great photo-op and snuggled up to the BigO just before the election. Many Conservatives lost their minds, and actually blamed Christie for Obama’s 2012 win. The simple truth of the matter is that Chris Christie knew whose rear end he had to kiss to make sure the people of his state were taken care off. The Jersey Shore got it’s federal dollars, and today is back up and running, just in time for the summer tourist season. It’s not all perfect, but it’s much better off than it was in November 2012. Meanwhile, locations in New York, where Gov. Bloomberg did NOT kiss up to BigO, are still decimated.
Now, a bunch of GOP & conservatives are pissed at NJ Gov. Chris Christie for not just appointing a Republican to fill the slot of recently deceased Sen. Lautenberg. Turns out, there’s good reason why Christie shouldn’t – NJ Special Election Law is all kinds of FUBAR:
New Jersey law has conflicting provisions on how long a governor’s Senate appointment can last until an election. In this case, it meant either this November or next. (I won’t go into all the details, but this provision suggests he could put it off til the general election in 2014, and this one appears to require that it be done in the 2013 general election.)
Christie might have helped out the national party (marginally) by sticking to his 2014 guns and appointing someone in the meantime, but he would have faced a messy political court battle which he might have lost. Do you want to be the governor who went to court to prevent an election from happening? And what if you lose on top of it all, in your own reelection year?
So instead, Christie rendered the legal dispute moot by doing something that both of the conflicting provisions allow him to do as an alternative — he called a special election. And in doing so, he went with the strict letter of the law in calling it for October 16. Contrary to what some are saying today, he could not have chosen November 5, even if he had wanted to.