New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg dead at 89

Five term New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg has died at a hospital in New York.

New York Times:

Frank R. Lautenberg, who fought the alcohol and tobacco industries and promoted Amtrak as a five-term United States senator from New Jersey, died Monday morning. He was 89.

Mr. Lautenberg died as a result of complications from viral pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell, his office said. He had decided not to run for another term next year.

On Feb. 18, 2010, his office announced that he had stomach cancer. Dr. James F. Holland, an oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, said then that he expected the senator to make a "full and complete recovery."

First elected in 1982 at age 58 after a successful business career, Mr. Lautenberg served three terms, retired and instantly regretted the decision. When Senator Robert G. Torricelli made a last-minute decision not to seek re-election in 2002, Mr. Lautenberg ran in his place and won the seat. He was re-elected in 2008.

Governor Christie will now get to appoint someone to fill out the term of Lautenberg that ends in 2014. Whoever he chooses will have a leg up should they choose to run for the GOP Senate nomination.

But as far as the general election, the Republicans will be at a disadvantage. They haven't won a Senate race in New Jersey since 1972.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

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