A Power Line reader from New Jersey agrees generally with my assessment of Chris Christie’s decision to hold a special election in October of this year to fill Frank Lautenberg’s seat, but adds some nuance. Our reader notes that, although Christie could win reelection if the special Senate election occurred on Election Day, the governor gains two advantages by holding that election earlier.
First, by getting the Senate race out of the way, and thereby presumably avoiding heavy Democratic turnout in November, Christie stands to win reelection by a more substantial margin. As our reader puts it, “we know that Christie has a big ego (well, a big everything) and the larger the margin of victory the better” for him.
Second, by minimizing Democratic turnout in November, Christie helps Republican candidates for state senator and assemblyman. Thus, “it is not only about Christie’s margin of victory, but how many Republicans he can get into office making his second term easier.”
From the standpoint of New Jersey politics, then, Christie has made a shrewd decision. But national Republicans will still feel that if Christie was unwilling to let a Republican hold the Senate seat until the end of 2014, at least he should have improved the odds of a Republican winning the seat by holding the special election in November.
By doing so, Christie would have given his Party more time to come up with a credible opponent to face the presumptive Democratic nominee, popular Newark mayor Cory Booker, and allowed more time for that opponent to become known. And he would have given the GOP nominee the potential benefit of his coattails