Friday, February 15, 2013

Sen. Frank Lautenberg to retire

Frank Lautenberg Announces He's Not Running For Reelection In New Jersey

 89 years old, 30 years in the senate, including coming out of retirement when an incumbent Democratic senator was forced off the ballot by legal problems. He is not retiring because he's afraid of a challenge from Newark Mayor Cory Booker. I    already knew I'd be voting for Lautenberg in that primary.

Lautenberg was never "popular" in Jersey. He's consistently received among the lowest constituent  approval ratings of United States senators. But he never lost a race. He was a tenacious, even dirty fighter. His first win came against a colorful, popular moderate Republican with name-recognition, Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick (considered by many the model for Lacey Davenport in Doonesbury, although Trudeau denies it). He wasn't expected to win.  He did, by under three points. Jersey isn't  known for producing distinguished senators. Bill Bradley is more a distinguished personage; he had to remind himself which state had elected him. Clifford Case was, to my mind, the last great Jersey senator, & the right wingers in his party got rid of him in a primary. But I think history will be very good to Lautenberg.

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