Blistering editorial today from the Newark Star-Ledger:
Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to hold the U.S. Senate election three weeks before the general election in November is a shameless move that will waste at least $12 million and risk the integrity of the vote. For him to present it as a high-minded attempt to empower voters shows what nerve the guy has.
There is no legitimate reason to hold two separate elections, and the reason he’s doing it is purely self-serving. He calculates that more Democratic voters will show up and cast ballots against him if a popular Democratic candidate like Newark Mayor Cory Booker is on the ballot as well. Given the big lead the governor has already, the greed here is striking: He apparently wants to run up his margin of victory as a credential for his 2016 presidential campaign.
The editorial goes on to raise an interesting question that hadn't occurred to me. If somehow the October special is close and the results are contested, (some) voting machines will have to be impounded as the fight plays out, which the writer says typically takes "a month or two." The editorial notes that Democrats may have grounds to sue because of this.
The national GOP is pretty unhappy with him, too. They wanted him to say that his interim appointee could serve until what would have been Lautenberg's next election, 2014. It was for more or less admirable reasons that Christie said no to that--the voters of New Jersey have the right to elect a senator before then. But the obvious thing to do was just to have it in November. Did he really think that people wouldn't see right through this in five seconds? In fact I don't think it even took five seconds in this case. Took me two.
Question: What makes politicians think they can get away with things like this? Answer: They usually do get away with it. People forget, circumstances change, and people rationalize. If the polling in mid-2015 shows that Christie is the most competitive GOP candidate, money and power will line up behind him. Even the teddy bear incident could be explained away somehow.
However, it's what happens between now and mid-2015 that counts, and I Republicans will probably spend a lot of time persuading themselves that he's just not a team player, and this team business is more important to conservatives than liberals (it's important on the left, but more important on the right). Now maybe he'll make a string to gestures to try and make that right, but his personality appears to such that he can't help himself, it's in his DNA that he needs to tell people to go piss off every so often.
But that's exactly what's so lame about this move. Christie has profited in his career from being the tough guy who says it straight. This move shows him to be gutless, afraid of Cory Booker and the voters he'll inspire to go to the polls, and his press conference yesterday was just a series of obvious stupid lies. So he's blown a huge hole in his rep.