JOHN FUND: Christie for Senate?
Christie could appoint anyone, but in reality he couldn’t appoint himself. Should he want the seat, he would first resign as governor and then his lieutenant governor would make the appointment. Such a maneuver has happened five times since the 1960s, but all five governors-turned-senators lost their next election.
So with public resentment of “self-appointed” senators usually high and Christie’s approval ratings quite low, why would Christie even consider such a move? One reason is that the GOP is unlikely to hold the Senate seat should it become vacant. New Jersey has gone Democratic for president in every election since 1988 and hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. Christie would probably be the strongest candidate the GOP could put up in what is shaping up to be a tough year for the party.
A second reason is that even if Christie chose not to seek election to a full six-year term in November 2018, he could still shake up the Senate in dramatic ways. His vote could be crucial in passing all kinds of legislation. His national stature would guarantee he would be a prominent voice pushing President Trump’s agenda. A solid year swinging the bat for Trump in the Senate could well repair his frayed relations with the White House and land him a major appointment after he left the Senate.
Stranger things have happened, and often to New Jersey’s Senators.