New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appointed long-time friend and colleague and current attorney general Jeff Chiesa as the interim Senator. He will fill the seat vacated when Sen. Lautenberg passed away Monday at age 89, and will be in office until the special election on October 16. Chiesa, a self-described "conservative Republican," said he would not run in the primary or general election in August and October respectively.
"I said on Monday I was going to select the person I thought was going to be the best person to represent New Jersey between now and Oct. 13," Christie told reporters Thursday. "During the last few days as I've gotten to deliberate on this decision, it became clear to me that Attorney General Chiesa would be the best person to represent the people of New Jersey in the United States Senate."
Jeff Chiesa became a law partner at Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci in 1988 where he met Chris Christie, who had joined the firm a year earlier. In 2002, the two joined the office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He then served as counsel to the U.S. attorney, chief of the Public Protection Unit, and executive assistant U.S. attorney. He left in 2009 to become a partner in the firm of Wolf & Samson.
When Christie was elected Governor of New Jersey in 2009, he turned to his old friend Chiesa to head his transition team. Chiesa would go on to be Christie's chief counsel before becoming Attorney General in 2011.