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Democrats Line Up for Senate Special Election #NJSEN

Holt will run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Holt will run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least two Democratic members of Congress from New Jersey are likely to run in the special election to fill the remaining term of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.

No one has officially entered the race yet; Lautenberg’s funeral was held Wednesday and he’ll be buried on Friday. But the Monday deadline to file petitions to make it onto the Aug. 13 primary ballot is forcing potential candidates to move quickly behind the scenes.

The GOP field remains murky, but the Democratic field is shaping up to include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rush D. Holt. reported on Wednesday that Holt had called Democratic county chairmen to let them know he was running. A source close to the congressman confirmed he is considering a bid but would not make any immediate announcements out of respect for Lautenberg.

Booker and Pallone had been preparing to run for Lautenberg’s seat for months. The senator was up for re-election in 2014 and had announced his retirement in February.

Pallone had a solid fundraising lead as of the end of March. He had $3.7 million in cash on hand as of March 31, Booker had $1.6 million and Holt had $797,000.

Republicans are still waiting to see whom Gov. Chris Christie appoints as an interim senator. The selection could either be a caretaker, who would be unlikely to run in the special election, or a potential candidate whose campaign might benefit from a temporary perch in the Senate.

(Read also in Roll Call: Christie Holds Keys to Lautenberg Succession)

The list of potential Republican appointees includes former GOP Gov. Tom Kean, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and state Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.

Several reports on Wednesday indicated that conservative activist Steve Lonegan was likely to enter the special-election race.

The primary winners will face off on Oct. 16 to fill the remainder of Lautenberg’s term.

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