Governor Christie always behaves like the smartest kid in class, and there’s no doubting his intelligence – or his guile.
But his decision to hold a special election on Oct. 16 to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy following the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg is the height of hypocrisy, and an insult to everyone’s intelligence.
Christie’s claim that having a separate election just 20 days before the Nov. 5 election is necessary in order to give New Jerseyans elected representation as quickly as possible is pure political smoke, and everyone knows it.
It turns out the schoolyard bully who was elected in 2009 with 49% of the vote in a three-way race is, like all bullies, a coward at heart. Christie just doesn’t want to be on the same ballot as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the early favorite to succeed Lautenberg. So, even though taxpayers will have to foot the $12 million in unnecessary costs associated with the special election, Christie is carving away the Senate election so he can avoid the impact that Booker – who is African American – would doubtless have on minority turnout in the Nov. 5 election.
This is not only craven politics, but it’s insulting to African American voters. Christie may feel he has pulled off a political coup, but it could end up being a colossal blunder.
He has virtually guaranteed a campaign whose sub-theme will remind minority voters that their right to vote was won at a high cost, over centuries of struggle.
If Chris Christie thinks minority voters will only turn out in one election over a three-week span, he may be in for a surprise.
The right to vote is precious, and will never be surrendered by New Jerseyans whose ancestors died to win it.
Christie just may learn that for the historically disenfranchised, there is only one thing better than voting in an election, and that would be voting in two of them.