Christie Stakes High in Filling Lautenberg's Senate Seat, Likely to End Up in Court


Names being floated for an immediate appointment include Republicans who have lost to Democrats. One name is New Jersey state Senate GOP leader Tom Kean Jr., son of the popular former governor who lost to Sen. Bob Menendez in 2006. There's also state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, former state GOP chairman who chaired Christie's 2009 campaign and lost to Menendez last year. Other potential appointees include Christie's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Assembly GOP leader Jon Bramnick, and Bill Baroni named by Christie in 2010 to serve as the deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

An intriguing possibility floated by Brigid Harrison, political science professor at Montclair State University, is to appoint Booker instead of a Republican.

"My sense is that appointing Booker is actually a possibility because if he were to do that now looking ahead at his own gubernatorial election and 2016 presidential run, he would appoint someone who is obviously a frontrunner with a campaign war chest, but also claim credit for appointing a very popular African-American to the United States senate," Harrison told ABC News.

Harrison says it won't just help in state politics, but is a bipartisan message that could help in the presidential general election if he wants to run in 2016.

"I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone in the state of New Jersey who could match Booker in any type of election statewide and so because Sen. Lautenberg was a Democrat… I think the governor can rationalize his appointment of Cory Booker…people in his caucus will not be happy about it, but I think he is probably the one politician in the country to get away with that," Harrison said, noting it would be a "rather remarkable national event," and stressing she hasn't discussed this possibility with the governor.

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