While conflicting, state statutes give Gov. Chris Christie potent arguments to make to schedule the statewide election for U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) seat on a date other than this year’s November gubernatorial election.
Tasked to succeed Senator Lautenberg, the governor’s choice can remain in the seat until a special election of the governor’s choosing, potentially as late as November of 2014, according to one reading of state law.
The political world is mourning the loss today of a New Jersey icon, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died at the age of 89.
The fact that it is an election year has the same people eager to know what will happen to the seat that Senator Lautenberg held.
There are competing statues.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg would really prefer if reporters would cease inquiring about which candidate he’ll ultimately endorse in the race to replace him this year. And he conveyed that message again and again at an unrelated press conference earlier this morning.
“I know who I’m going to vote for and I may change my mind between now and then,” Mr. Bloomberg declared at one point. “If I do, you’re not going to know about it.”
“Uh, let me–” Mr. Bloomberg paused.
“Wrap up,” Marc La Vorgna, Mr. Bloomberg’s press secretary, jumped in. The mayor, however, wasn’t about to wrap up.
Donovan Richards declared victory today in the Queens special election to replace his mentor, former Councilman James Sanders, putting to rest fears that the election’s outcome would be unknown for weeks or even months in what had become a racially-charged contest.
With all absentee and affidavit votes counted, Mr. Richards padded his razor-thin 26-vote Election Day margin with another 133 votes, while his main competitor, Pesach Osina, only gathered an additional 80. This brought the unofficial tally to 2,646 for Mr. Richards and 2,567 for Mr. Osina, a wide enough margin to avoid an automatic recount. The results will be certified next week.
Late last night, The New York Times broke the news that M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota is considering entering next year’s mayoral race as a Republican, and is being strongly urged by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to do so. Since Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is Mr. Lhota’s boss and the chairman was beside him at a press conference this afternoon, a reporter asked the governor about this possibility. Needless to say, Mr. Cuomo does not sound not interested in adding to his current political complications he’s already dealing with in Albany.
“I’m going to try to stay out of the politics of New York City if I can avoid it,” Mr. Cuomo replied. Pressed on whether he will make any endorsement whatsoever, he succinctly added, “I’m not expecting to, no.”
the elephant not in the room
On a brisk mid-October day, Tom Allon announced he was dropping out of the highly competitive Democratic mayoral primary and would instead be a contender in the far sparser Republican field. “Theodore Roosevelt cleaned up New York by telling truth to power and truth to the public,” he declared, standing before the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the Upper West Side. “I plan to run a campaign that will talk about the hard truths facing our city, and ideas I have to fix our growing problems.”
The event’s august backdrop may have oversold its symbolic importance. It’s impossible to find a neutral party who thinks Mr. Allon, a local newspaper publisher whose weeklies include Our Town and The West Side Spirit, is anything but a long-shot to replace term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013. But as no fewer than five heavyweight Democrats are already in contention for the office, each of whom has raised over a million dollars, Mr. Allon’s move highlights the fact that Republicans, so far at least, are still on the hunt for a formidable standard-bearer.
Sensing the vacuum, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. announced Monday night that he has also left the Democratic Party in hopes of securing the Republican line for mayor.
With last night’s elections, a number of seats changed hands between the Democratic and Republican parties across New York State, and indeed the entire country. But in the five boroughs of New York City, it was a one-way street.
At the congressional level, for example, the city lost half its Republican representation with the exit of Queens’ Bob Turner, who unsuccessfully ran for his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. GOP Councilman Dan Halloran had his sights on the remnants of Mr. Turner’s district in northeastern part of the borough, but the area’s solidly Democratic tendencies allowed Assemblywoman Grace Meng to easily leap over Mr. Halloran and secure a new gig in Washington D.C.
New York State started off as a key battleground in the Democrats’ battle to retake control of the U.S. House, especially after the courts intervened in the redistricting plan and shook up a lot of traditional boundaries. However, most of these races were focused in areas further Upstate and the suburbs, leaving the heavily Democratic New York City with just two congressional elections of note.
In Queens, Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng faced off against GOP Councilman Dan Halloran for a seat crafted from the district remnants of outgoing Congressmen Bob Turner and Gary Ackerman. Despite Mr. Halloran’s polling showing the race a tie, those numbers did not pan out and Ms. Meng is currently ahead by roughly 2-to-1, which matches how Democrats have historically performed within the area.
In a surprising announcement this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who left the Republican Party in 2007 and has been courted extensively by both presidential candidates, endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection. Mr. Bloomberg publicized his decision in a Bloomberg View op-ed and said Hurricane Sandy’s destruction and the need to tackle long-term climate change motivated his decision.
“We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks,” he explained. “His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
In contrast, Mr. Bloomberg said Republican candidate Mitt Romney was “abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported,” and the issue is simply “too important” to let slide.