The political jigsaw puzzle in New Jersey is starting to become easier to solve. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, (D) N.J. has told the Associated Press on Feb. 14, 2013, that he has decided he will not run for another term in 2014 paving the way for Newark Mayor Cory Booker and potentially Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. who have been chomping at the bit to replace the 89 year- old senator.
Lautenberg is a War World II veteran and the last one that is still in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg won election to that seat in 1982 and was elected to the position five times. Lautenberg would have been facing a grueling challenge by Booker who has announced his intentions to run for the seat instead of challenging Governor Chris Christie for his seat. Although that move widely disappointed the N.J. Democratic machine, it was a wise strategic move on Booker’s part. His odds of success are more favorable for senate unless Pallone decides to look for a promotion and challenge Booker. That race would be a tough one that would have long lasting implications on the party. Pallone’s experience and longevity in Washington would certainly be a challenge for Booker if he does decide to run.
Christie’s Democratic challenger Senator Barbara Buono released a statement on Lautenberg’s retirement in which she stated that "Senator Frank Lautenberg has committed his life to serving the state of New Jersey. As a veteran of World War II, a successful businessman and a five-term Senator, Senator Lautenberg has always exemplified what it means to be a public servant. New Jerseyans have been lucky to have such a distinguished elected official represent our state's interests in Washington and he will be sorely missed.
"During the next two years, I look forward to working with him to pass laws that will reduce gun violence and create jobs for New Jersey's middle and working class" Buono said.