Christie's decision on successor for Lautenberg could boost GOP chances in 2014

In point of fact, Christie may have the option of not appointing an interim successor to the deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg. As Nate Silver points out, he may declare a special election for 2013 with the winner forced to run in 2014 as well. That probably is not the optimum solution. But there is little doubt that Christie's decision - if he decides to name a caretaker Senator - will impact his chances for the 2016 presidential nomination and could give the GOP chances a boost to take over the Senate in 2014. It may be best to treat elections involving an appointed senator as open-seat races, rather than those in which incumbents are running. (This is, in fact, how we handle such cases in our Senate forecasting model.) While these appointed senators enjoy some of the benefits of incumbency, like name recognition and fund-raising ability, they usually lack the deterrent effect -- that is, the tendency to prevent strong challengers from running -- that most incumbent senators...(Read Full Post)