Judge OKs Christie's special election decision

Christie was being challenged for calling the election for October, instead of putting it on the November ballot

Published June 14, 2013 1:51PM (EDT)

A Superior Court Judge in New Jersey rejected a challenge to a decision by Gov. Chris Christie to call an October special election to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, instead of putting the race on the November ballot alongside his own reelection.

Politicker NJ reports:

The court cited NJSA 19:27-6, which provides that if a vacancy occurs in the the US Senate the election shall take place at the general election next succeeding unless the vacancy occurs within 70 days next preceding the primary election prior to the general election.

"Without question, the Governor was authorized to call a special election in this circumstance, where the vacancy occurred one day prior to the primary," the court's decision reads.

The challenge was brought by attorney Peg Schaffer, who also chairs a local county Democratic Committee. She and her law firm had argued that a special election would be too costly, and would suppress the vote.

Christie reportedly decided to call a special election to avoid appearing on the same ballot as Cory Booker, an early frontrunner in the Democratic primary, and to avoid a surge in Democratic turnout for the general election.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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2013 Elections Chris Christie Cory Booker Frank Lautenberg New Jersey