New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today named a longtime loyal colleague, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, to temporarily fill the US Senate seat that opened up this week after Frank Lautenberg's death. Chiesa, 47, has never held or run for political office and will not seek the office in an October special election to fill the seat for a longer period, Christie said. Chiesa will be the first Republican to represent New Jersey in the Senate since 1982.
When Chiesa takes office on Monday—just ahead of hearings on immigration reform—the Senate will have 52 Democrats, 46 Republicans, and two independents who generally vote with the Democrats. "I will try to contribute in any way I can," Chiesa said, noting that a limited time in Washington—just four months—is likely to restrict just how much he can accomplish.