Lautenberg out for 2014?

UPDATE: I’m getting a solid denial from Sen. Lautenberg’s Communications Director . Actually, more specifically I am told that this is not confirmed.

We’re hearing, from a Blue Jersey community member glued to NBC News that they are reporting Sen. Frank Lautenberg will not run for re-election in 2014.

Here is what News4NewYork is reporting.

Comments (24)

  1. Hopeful

    that he is the last WWII vet in the Senate. The war was seventy years ago, so it shouldn’t be so surprising to me, but somehow it is.  

  2. zi985

    Interesting article in Politico:

  3. Bill Orr

    By this time in the election cycle six years ago Sen. Lautenberg had $1,405,000 in cash, whereas, now he has only $203,000. By the end of his 2008 election he had raised $8,136,000. For the 2014 race he would want considerably more, but he has not been building any significant war chest.

    Regardless of his final decision he can be proud of his progressive record and substantial contributions to the lives of New Jerseyans.

  4. ken bank

    He’s 15 years younger than Lautenberg. Cory Booker filed his papers, so if Lautenberg stays we can expect a very expensive and very divisive primary, with a chance that even if Lautenberg wins the primary he may lose to a strong GOP candidate like Leonard Lance. That would be disastrous for Democrats, especially if West Virginia goes GOP.

    Polls already show Lautenberg with only 45% approval, and age will most certainly, and justifiably, be an issue in the campaign, especially if Christie is re-elected and could appoint Lautenberg’s successor should he win and subsequently dies in office which ay 90+ has to be considered a distinct possibility.

    If Frank Lautenberg really wants to preserve his legacy he should follow Jay Rockefeller, put his ego aside, be a mensch, and do what’s best for his party, his President, his constituents, his supporters and the country.

  5. Babs NJSD

    I have to thank Frank Lautenberg! The man deserves respect for what he has done and continues to accomplish! I can tell you personally that he’s not too old to learn new tricks ( if you don’t mind the metaphor) …and  take a leadership role on it!

    I remember talking to him in early 2002 as he seemed to be enjoying his retirement and then later that year came back to run again and win for NJ Democrats and all New Jerseyans!

    He showed what he had in 2008 when he was challenged and easily won. In 2014, I don’t think he has to prove anything, but he does have a legacy.

    I’m sure in 2014, he will again do the right thing for his Party and his fellow citizens and for his huge legacy! Just give him the respect he has earned!

    If he feels that Cory can be part of his legacy … so be it, but that is his decision.

  6. deciminyan

    I wish Senator Lautenberg a long life – longer than Strom Thurmond. But the reality is, he may not be able to serve another full term. If he vacates his seat before the 2016 presidential election, Governor Christie would be prone to appoint an extreme right-winger to the post in order to curry favor with the crazies. Not a faux moderate like Joe Kyrillos. How does U.S. Senator Jay Webber sound? Pretty scary.

  7. Thurman Hart

    but I think he should retire, and do it in a way that allows New Jerseyans to pick his replacement – in other words, he should do it now so we can elect someone to his seat, rather than have it filled by gubernatorial fiat.

  8. denniscmcgrath

    Don’t give an 89 year old male good odds for making 95.

    In 2008, Lautenberg covered the spread. He could be expected to live another seven or so years on average (the longer you live, the more likely you are to live a little longer. Up to a point).

    At 89, he’s got an even chance of going another 4 years. Doesn’t cover the term.

    Bad news, folks: Christie isn’t going to lose.  

  9. ken bank

    I don’t think we should expect 2014 to be anything like 2008. Obama will not head the ticket, turnout will likely favor Republicans, and the GOP will almost surely put up a much stronger candidate than they had in 2008. Remember Dick Zimmer? I doubt anybody else does. The GOP primary that year was a laugh riot. The establishment candidate who was supposed to self-finance embarassed herself when she couldn’t answer a question about gun control in a debate with Murray Sabrin. Then she withdrew claiming “exhaustion”. After that we had the Goya Bean heir Andy Unanue who said he would run after he got back from vacation skiing in Colorado. He ended up extending his vacation and eventually withdrew from the race he never officially entered. In desperation the GOP honchos dragged lobbyist Dick Zimmer to run against Lautenberg since the other two declared candidates, “Jersey Joe” Pennacchio (he advocated concentration camps for welfare recipients) was a disaster and “Maverick” Murray Sabrin was good for laughs and little else. The Democrats could have nominated Jim Florio that year and he would have won easily.

    Even if Lautenberg survives an expensive and likely nasty primary he’ll probably face Leonard Lance who is no pushover and has a solid political base. Between Lance and Christie they will easily have more money than Lautenberg who will also have to outspend Cory Booker in the primary, no easy feat. Lance may have primary opposition from  Teabagger Mike Doherty but he has no chance. He can’t raise enough money, and outside NJs redneck backwoods will not get any votes.

    Cory Booker will wipe the political map with any candidate the GOP puts up, including Lance. It will be alot easier for Democrats if Booker doesn’t have to waste millions of dollars in an unnecessary and nasty primary fight.

  10. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    I think he would be re-elected. Leonard Lance? Please. He’s turned himself into a back-bencher. Lautenberg is a leader. My 2 cents.  

  11. 12mileseastofTrenton

    There’s nothing abouot Lance that would make him a formidable candidate.  He’s low key, low profile and from a rural part of the state.

    Lautenberg has a lot of his own money, and can use it if need be.

    What makes Booker entitled to the seat?  If Lautenberg doesn’t run, Frank Pallone will.  And I’ll be voting for him.  Either candidate should beat Lance.

  12. Bertin Lefkovic

    Chris Christie is the only Republican in NJ who can win a statewide election, so neither Lance or any other name that anyone wants to throw out there is a factor in this debate.

    I don’t think that a contested Democratic primary election involving Booker and Lautenberg or Frank Pallone is going to be particularly divisive or nasty.  2008 was ugly because Rob Andrews is a Norcross acolyte and that is the only way that anyone associated with him knows how to campaign.

    Primary elections are a good thing for democracy and the Democratic Party should not be as adverse to them as it has been historically.

  13. Bertin Lefkovic

    As much as I like Frank Pallone, I do not think that when push comes to shove, he will put his political career on the line in a tough fight against Booker, especially since Booker will probably have the support of the bulk of the Democratic establishment.

    Pallone will only have a lock on two county party lines in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, while Booker will have all of Norcrossippi’s eight counties plus Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union Counties.  Mercer is the only blue county that is up for grabs along with the five crimson red counties of Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.

    It is just too risky a move for someone who could continue to be a force in the House for the next 20 years if he wants.  The only reason that he might feel the need to take this kind of risk is if he is feeling pressure from Middlesex County to move on or up so that they can be represented by someone from their own county.

    The only thing that could make this interesting is if Steve Sweeney, who does have a federal account, is serious about running for the Senate in 2014.  If he does run, suddenly, Booker only has a lock on five county party lines, albeit in only five.  If Pallone could add Mercer and the five red counties to his column and would be willing to run opposition slates everywhere else, then we could see the most closely contested statewide primary election since 1997.

    Does anybody remember if Pallone supported Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in 2008?  Considering how helpful Bill Clinton was for Bill Pascrell, Jr. last year and how completely useless Obama was for Steve Rothman, it would be nice if that dynamic could work in Pallone’s favor if necessary.

  14. ken bank

    Even if Lautenberg survives a primary age will be a factor in the election. Even if Lautenberg is re-elected what are the realistic chances he serves out his full term. Remember Arlen Specter? He was several years younger than Lautenberg. The irony is that had Specter been re-elected and died in office, Republican Tom Corbett would have appointed Pat Toomey his successor. While I don’t think Chris Christie would appoint Jay Webber or some other teabagger, he would likely appoint Leonard Lance which would open up the seat for uberteabagger Mike Doherty.  Imagine Scott Garrett and Mike Doherty in Congress. Now that’s a scary scenario. I just hope, for all our sakes, Frank Lautenberg does the right thing.

  15. denniscmcgrath
  16. 12mileseastofTrenton

    The reason he would risk the house seat is that he may not believe the Democrats will take back the house anytime soon.  

  17. Bertin Lefkovic

    …someone.  Doherty is currently a State Senator, which is a more powerful position by NJ power politics standards.  I think that it is impossible to predict right now who would replace Leonard Lance in CD7 if he were to be appointed to the Senate, but I do not believe that he is necessarily the most likely candidate.  Depending on when the vacancy occurred and where Christie was in his presidential campaign planning and what his prospects looked like, he could determine that appointing himself to the Senate would be the best decision.

    That said, I agree with the logic that says if Christie wins re-election this year, Frank Lautenberg should not run for re-election next year, but I think that he should be allowed to wait until after November to make his decision.  I don’t believe that the gubernatorial election is a fait accompli and until it is decided, I think that we should all keep an open mind to the idea of his re-election, particularly as long as Cory Booker is the only alternative at the moment.

  18. Bertin Lefkovic

    …that you are right, but I do not think that you are.  There is still a lot of good work that Pallone can do in the House even when the Democrats are in the minority, so I still don’t think that it is likely that he runs, but I hope that he proves me wrong and you right.

  19. Bertin Lefkovic

    …that he will not survive another term?  While I agree that democracy should trump politics more often than not, I think that this is one situation where the political argument is the more compelling one.  If Christie wins re-election, then the risk that Lautenberg could die in office and be replaced by a Republican has to be considered.

    However, if Christie loses this fall and that is no longer a concern, then I think that the democratic process becomes secondary to allowing an effective and progressive elected to serve as long as he chooses, especially when the alternative at the moment is Cory Booker.

    Our state’s politics are so thoroughly rigged that elections are not more credible than a political appointment enough to justify prematurely ending Lautenberg’s political career for Cory Booker’s sake.

  20. ken bank

    OK, let’s assume we have a Democratic Governor. Polls show there is still a risk Lautenberg could lose to a Republican. His current approval rating is 45%, and below 50 is not healthy for an incumbent. Remember, there is no Obama at the top of the ticket which helped Menendez tremendously. And Lautenberg has made alot of enemies over the years, especially in South Jersey including Sweeney and Norcross. Since there is no presidential race turnout will be very important, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Norcross & Co. to GOTV for Lautenberg.

    I still think Lance will be the GOP candidate. With West Virginia likely to go GOP, national Republicans will sense Lautenberg’s vulnerability and make a full court fundraising effort to knock him off. With so many Democratic seats up for grabs in the Senate, if Lautenberg loses we could see Mitch McConnell become the Senate majority leader.

    Lautenberg may be popular among progressives, but they do not make up a majority of the electorate. And age will definitely be a factor. This is New Jersey, not West Virginia where they could have run Robert Byrd’s dead body for Senate and he would still win.

    Finally, consider this. Lautenberg would likely be a much weaker candidate heading the ticket in 2014 than either Frank Pallone or Cory Booker. So far as I know the fix is in for Len Lance to run for Senate, while Mike Doherty is the heir apparent. That’s the reason Doherty withdrew from the Senate race last year and headed the Lance campaign. If Lautenberg heads the ticket Lance will likely carry the 7th district and Doherty with him. A stronger ticket headed by Cory Booker will perform alot better in the 7th diswtrict, and while Lance might still carry it Booker’s coattails have a chance to elect a Democrat from that district, especially if he’s a strong candidate. And I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of knocking off Scott Garrett and Jon Runyan if Democrats put up the strongest candidate they can find, even if he does not meet the progressive purity test. So there’s alot at stake here besides Lautenberg’s ego and reputation.

    BTW, it’s fortunate that Hawaii has a Democratic governor, don’t you think?

  21. denniscmcgrath

    And will be 95 at the end of his next term?

    I wouldn’t assume he’ll make it to breakfast, frankly.

  22. ken bank

    I forgot to add something else that hasn’t been mentioned. In addition to his age which will undoubtedly become a significant issue, especially among undecided voters, there is also the question of his physical stamina to efectively campaign in a hotly contested primary as well as a general election. I recall he was absent for a few votes recently due to illness, and he also had cancer treatment some time ago. Let’s face it, pushing 90 there is no way he has the stamina and energy to campaign the way he had when he was 70 or even 80. Just something else to consider when assessing the risks of Republicans flipping a seat they haven’t held in forty years.

  23. denniscmcgrath

    misread your comment. We’re on the same page.

  24. Bertin Lefkovic

    It is still very early as there is still far too much campaigning left to take place in 2013 before Christie wins re-election or not and anyone, particularly nobodys like us, need to worry about showing Senator Lautenberg the door.

    That said, it is quite clear that regardless of what he decides regarding his political future, Cory Booker is going to run for this Senate seat next year and it is entirely possible that he may have to compete with Congressman Frank Pallone and Senate President (please refrain from snickering because the Blue Jersey powers that be do not appreciate any expressions of disrespect for the completely unqualified and totally ridiculous candidacy of the undereducated) Steve Sweeney.

    Thus, one way or another, this decision is primarily in the hands of Senator Lautenberg and secondarily in the hands of the voters who will have the opportunity to vote in November of 2014 as it should be.  It is bad enough that there are people who operate behind the scenes to place pressure on people to make decisions that they might not otherwise make.

    I think that we can be better than them and let Senator Lautenberg make the decisions that are right for him when he chooses to make them and once he does that and others make similar decisions along these lines, we can advocate for the candidate who we believe will serve our state, country, and world best.

    Personally, I think that President Obama’s decision to replace Hillary Clinton with John Kerry, creating the possibility that Scott Brown could win another special election, was a much riskier decision than re-electing Frank Lautenberg would be, but that is just my opinion.  I could be wrong.


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