Frank Lautenberg Will Not Seek Re-Election In 2014
After several weeks of not revealing his intentions while at the same time engaging in a very public spat with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, one of the oldest members of the Senate, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014:
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a pugnacious and plain-spoken Democrat who has represented New Jersey for three decades, will not seek re-election to a sixth term next year.
“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told the Star-Ledger. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard asever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
The decision by Lautenberg, 89, who has been giving mixed signals for months, marks the end of a political era in New Jersey and one that is likely to set off a fierce primary battle as Democrats, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, jockey for the rare open seat.
This is most obviously a boon to the political fortunes of Booker, who announced late last year that he would be exploring the possibility of running for Senate in 2014. However, it’s unlikely that Booker be alone in the race. As noted above, this is a rare open seat in a seat where many Democrats at the state and Congressional level have been waiting for some time to advance, so we’re likely to see a heavily contested Democratic Primary. Right off the bat, I would expect 11-term Congressman Frank Pallone, a Lautenberg protege who has been hinting that he’ll enter the race if Lautenberg doesn’t run, to enter the race along with a few others. Of all of them, Booker has the advantage of greater name recognition and better access to big money donors in Newark and New York City, but it’s likely to be a hard fought primary nonetheless. I’d make Booker the odds-on favorite to win the nomination, but it’s still far too early to be sure of anything.