By John Burton
TRENTON — The speculation ended this afternoon as Gov. Chris Christie announced he has named Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to serve as interim U.S. Senator, filling the vacancy left with the death of Frank Lautenberg earlier this week.
In addition, U.S. Rep Rush Holt, D-12, has announced he will be filing a petition to run in the August special primary election for the seat. Also announcing he will run for the Republican nomination is Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota who has been active in the tea party movement.
The primary will be conducted on Tuesday, Aug. 13, with the special election slated for Wednesday Oct. 16, as per the writ signed by the governor and permitted under state statute. Christie announced the special election a press conference on Tuesday. Those intending to run for their party’s nomination must file petitions by Monday.Chiesa, who lives in Branchburg with his wife and children, has been Christie’s attorney general since January 2012, was the governor’s chief counsel for two years prior and headed up Christie’s transition team following the 2009 election.Before that he worked for seven years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey, rising to counsel for the U.S. Attorney and as the executive Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Chiesa has said he will not seek run for the full term in the upcoming special primary and election.