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NJ-Sen: Is Lautenberg Retiring?

by: shamlet

Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 22:19:11 PM EST

Either someone is making up stories or someone seriously jumped the gun on a retirement announcement. Here's the story;

Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg has decided not to run for re-election, [WNBC-TV] has learned. Sources familiar with Lautenberg's thinking tell... that the senator, who turns 89 this month, won't run again in 2014. The news comes the same week that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has filed papers allowing him to raise money for a U.S. Senate run in New Jersey.

But's the rebuttal:

A spokesman for Sen. Frank Lautenberg denied a report Friday night that the senator has decided not to seek re-election. "Sen. Lautenberg has not yet made a decision on his re-election," Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray wrote in an e-mail.

So which is it? We probably will have some idea whether a retirement is imminent by Monday. Either someone seriously jumped the gun by releasing a retirement announcement planned to get press next week (or maybe even later than that) late on a Friday night, or someone is passing along rumors and giving them more of an aura of truth than they deserve. In any case, I think some Lautenberg staffer is getting the full Christie-at-a-Town-Hall treatment right now. Regardless of the ultimate timing and content of the announcement, this was not the time they wanted anything to leak.

shamlet :: NJ-Sen: Is Lautenberg Retiring?
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I think
most likely he is, he is just trying to get his ducks in a row for a plan to support Pallone vs. Booker.  There seems to be some nasty blood with the NJ Democratic establishment vs. Booker.

34/M/D/NY-01 DKE:Socks The Cat

I'd say it's all but guaranteed
It's worth recalling that Lautenberg already retired once, so he's obviously just been dialing it in for the past decade. Even if he wasn't ready to step out, Booker's challenge probably made it a certainty, because it's hard to see Launtenberg with any interest to fight through a tough primary in his 90s, when he was ready to hang it up anyhow at 76. I'm sure it's just a matter of setting the stage as well as he can for his preferred successor, which is clearly not Cory Booker.

Democrat, NC-11

I thought I read
Somewhere that Lautenberg regretted retiring and was bored before coming back to the Senate. That's why he didn't want to retire this time around. Rather than being checked out, he hoped to continue to serve until he passed.

Which means he might very well hold a grudge against Booker for pushing him out of the seat.  

34, R, CO-1 (Degette)

[ Parent ]
I recall that too
Now that you mention it. I think if he could just coast to reelection the odds would be no worse than 50/50 that Lautenberg would run again. But, I think Booker's challenge pretty much seals the deal. I just don't see Lautenberg having any interest in what would be a tough primary with an excellent chance that he'd lose.

That aside, if he was at all inclined to support Booker I think it'd be clear now. And, if he was planning to coast to reelection, then I surely agree he must resent Booker and will want to do what he can to give Pallone an edge.

Democrat, NC-11

[ Parent ]
That's the story
Frank Lautenberg wants to wake up very morning and work as a senator. When he retired the last time, he felt like he didn't have anything to do. He'd retire only if he felt that he didn't want the primary fight. In 1980, Al D'Amato pretty much said that Jacob Javits wouldn't live through his term. That's an ugly thing to say but it's a card that Booker could play that Lautenberg would have no rebuttal.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
Why can't all Republicans be like Jacob Javits? )))))

[ Parent ]
I just spat out my drink in my state of ))))))))).

From IL-09, familial roots in MI-14, college in PA-02/07, and working for the summer in DC-AL.

Andy Hill for WA-Governor!

[ Parent ]
Millicent Fenwick
The irony is, Lautenberg played the age card to defeat Millicent Fenwick. He was very nasty about it too, which you can get away with in NJ.

50, Male, Conservative Republican, NJ-09, originally NY-18
Tell the "Food Stamps" President: self-reliance is a good thing!

[ Parent ]
That was one reason
(among many) that I really dislike Lautenberg.  How could he run for reelection well into his 80's with a straight face when he was elected in the first place by showing a total lack of class and attacking his opponent's age (and her mental capabilities at her supposed advanced age)?

Millicent Fenwick's age in 1982 < Frank Lautenberg's age 2008.

But this is Jersey and people really couldn't care less.

37, Republican, NJ-11  

[ Parent ]
Lautenberg needs to play his cards right
If he bows out before Pallone's made a decision, the White House and DSCC will immediately endorse Booker and probably prevent any high-profile primary challenge. If, however, Lautenberg can draw Pallone in while he's still fake-running, that keeps D.C. from being able to embrace Booker full-throttle.

25, MA-07, Rockefeller Republican. Jeb 2016. Visit me at

Pallone has no base
That's his primary problem. Half the congressional delegation wants that seat anyway and has no reason to help either of these men.

28, R, PA-07.

Other than hating Booker
He really seems to p' off almost all the New Jersey Dems... he steals their spotlight and makes them look bad by comparison.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
well to be fair
The general rule of thumb in New Jersey is that nobody particularly likes anyone else, more often than not.

28, R, PA-07.

[ Parent ]
I don't know where this "Lautenberg wants Pallone" thing is coming from.  I mean, I suppose he could support him, but why him over Holt or anyone else he knows?  If he's upset that Booker is challenging him, he also realizes that HE'S probably the only one who would have a shot at Booker (with the support of most or all six incumbent Dem Reps.), as the incumbent.  If he's going to hang it up, he's going to have little influence on who replaces him.

[ Parent ]
once upon a time he was a self described 'conservative Democrat'
Of course he had to be. His shore district was heavily conservative and Bush Sr. won it in a landslide in 1988.

28, R, PA-07.

[ Parent ]
To be sure
I don't think Lautenberg especially supports Pallone per se. I think he supports Anyone-But-Booker, and Pallone just happens to be the most likely alternative from what we've heard.

As for being able to influence the outcome, I think andyroo pretty much nailed it. The key is just to have someone else ready to jump into the fray before Booker can clear the field. Whether that someone else can actually win is a whole 'nother matter, but someone else will be more likely to win than no one else.

Democrat, NC-11

[ Parent ]
here's the rub
Despite the polling, Lautenberg is still more likely to win than someone else (against Booker).  The bloc of Congressmen that want to replace him could conceivably line up against Booker in the hopes to knock him off, whereas if Pallone is the chosen one, then Andrews, Holt, Sires, etc have no reason to choose Pallone over Booker, and Booker wins easily.  Their only hope is that Lautenberg sticks it out, and they can use all of their muscle to help him beat Booker.
It's kind of like 2008.  Andrews enters, and all the other Congressman and their teams, their surrogates, etc, line up to help Lautenberg crush Andrews.  If Lautenberg retired, it would have been a free-for-all.  A free-for-all with Booker involved is not what these guys want.

[ Parent ]
I think this is exactly right.  Keeping Lautenberg in the game is in their mutual interest and they collectively have a lot more influence over the party apparatus than Booker does.  

It's sort of like Weekend at Bernie's but Frank is still very much alive.

37, Republican, NJ-11  

[ Parent ]
I just LOLed
Comment of the Day!  

[ Parent ]
The scoop is...
The old-time Dems including in Essex, think Booker is getting too powerful and needs to be taken down a notch. Also he still has former Mayor Sharpe James and State Senator Ronald Rice jabbing him in his own town. It was nearly a riot when Booker tried a last minute move to replace Donald Payne Jr as At Large Councilman upon Paynes election to CD-10. Pallone is very tied in with North Jersey Democrats and this will be a battle. Other scoop is Booker is very tied in with Mike Bloomberg, which may not be sitting well with anyone.

[ Parent ]

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