STATE — If another U.S. Senate vacancy occurs, New Jersey would have no voice in the upper house in Congress if Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union) gets his way.
Cryan, who holds power over the local government in Union Township even after the publication of dozens of sexually explicit emails sent from government offices where he is employed as a top deputy to Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich and as one of three 20th Legislative District lawmakers, sponsored a bill that would eliminate the governor’s ability to temporarily appoint a senator.
Gov. Chris Christie designated Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to hold the office until a successor could be elected to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June; and Jon Corzine appointed Sen. Bob Menendez to fill his seat after he was elected Governor in 2005.
Under the proposed new law, a successor would be chosen during the next general election cycle, but the governor would have a limited ability to call a special election.
State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) has introduced a different proposal that would require the governor to make an appointment from the same political party as the senator being replaced and would eliminate the special election provision.
After Lautenberg’s death this summer, Christie drew criticism for choosing to hold a special election in October, in which Newark Mayor Cory Booker defeated conservative Republican Steve Lonegan. Democrats argued that the decision to hold the election separately from the general election, at an estimated cost of $12 million, was politically motivated by Christie’s concerns over his own re-election margin if he shared the ballot with a popular Democrat.
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