Lautenberg Not Seeking Re-Election in 2014

New Jersey Senator Frank Laut­enberg has officially announced he will not be running for re-election in the 2014 Senatorial election. Lautenberg has served in his New Jersey Senator seat for nearly thir­ty years, and at 89 years old, is the oldest member of Congress.

Lautenberg was born in Pat­erson, New Jersey in 1924. His parents were Polish and Russian immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island. His father took many jobs throughout Laut­enberg’s life, causing the family to move around frequently. He lost his father when he was 19 years old to cancer, and took the responsibil­ity of helping support his family by working nights and weekends until he graduated high school.

After graduating high school, he enlisted in the military, and served in the Army Signal Corps in Eu­rope. When he returned home he was able to attend Columbia Uni­versity on the G.I. Bill, graduating with a degree in economics.

Following Columbia, Lauten­berg and two childhood friends started the nation’s first payroll service, Automatic Data Process­ing. He acted as chairman and CEO of the company helping it to become one of the largest comput­ing services company in the world.

He first ran, and won, his seat in Senate in 1982. Following his election to become a New Jersey Senator, he ran and won again in 1988 and 1994. After serving for three terms, he briefly retired from the Senate, only to jump back into the game in 2003. He was elected to his fifth and now final term in 2008.

He currently serves on three dif­ferent committees for the Senate: Appropriations, Commerce, and Science and Transportation. He is also the Chairman of two Senate Committees, the Commerce Com­mittee and the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Throughout his career, he has helped balance the federal bud­get, stopped aid to nations that support terrorism, kept guns out of the hands of domestic abus­ers, banned smoking on airplanes, increased the penalties on drunk drivers, fought for the environ­ment, and improved the transpor­tation system of New Jersey. In his last two years in office, Laut­enberg has made the issues of gun control and the environment his most important issues.

There have been rumors swirl­ing around Lautenberg’s decision to not run again in the 2014 Sena­torial Election; the main one being that he does not want to challenge Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

Booker, who has been up and down about announcing his sena­torial campaign, registered his pa­pers back in January of this year. However, he is not fully focused on the campaign, and is staying focused on the upcoming Guber­natorial Election and duties as Mayor ofNewark.

According to Dr. Charles Cot­ton, a political science professor at the University, “Monmouth University polls suggest Booker has a very realistic opportunity to win the election, but he needs to commit fully to the race, and why shouldn’t he? Although they are both Democrats, Booker rep­resents a new approach to the Sen­ate seat when compared to Laut­enberg and I think this is what a majority of New Jersey voters will want come election time.”

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, communication professor at the University, believes “It will be in­teresting to see if there will be a primary fight for the Democratic nomination. If there is, Booker is in the best position statewide to secure the nomination and have a chance of winning the seat.”

Phillips-Anderson continued, “Some establishment Democrats think that Booker jumped the gun by filing his papers before Lauten­berg’s announcement that he would retire, but I don’t think most voters statewide either know that or care.”

Voters may not mind that Booker announced early, but Lautenberg did. Lautenberg is on record stat­ing that Booker needs a “Spank­ing” for being so aggressive in his determination for the Senate race.

The other Democratic contender is Congressman Frank Pallone, who filed his papers this month. For the Republican side of the race, it has been rumored Geraldo Ri­vera, television personality for Fox News, may run.

Phillips-Anderson said, “It’ll be interesting to see who the Repub­licans nominate, but none of the Senate candidates received much traction in the last few elections.”

The upcoming election will be interesting, but for now Lauten­berg has a lot of work to do. He is quoted in a Star Ledger article say­ing, “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”