Jon Stewart devoted his opening bit last night to Gov. Christie's decision to hold a special election for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat in October, instead of on Election Day in 2013 or 2014. The move -- which costs $12 million -- has been widely viewed as a way for Christie to avoid running for re-election this year on the same ballot as a popular Democrat like Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
While skewering Christie (and New Jersey) with typical absurdity, Stewart also dropped a scoop. In 2009, legislative Democrats, concerned that Gov.-elect Christie would get to appoint a replacement for an aging Lautenberg, were debating a bill dealing with this very issue. And Christie said this:
"I don't think any responsible governor at this point would call for a special election that would cost $10 million."
For context, "at this point" could refer to the fact that the state had a nearly $1 billion deficit at the time. Here's Christie's full 2009 remarks, as recorded by the Star-Ledger.
Christie had just been elected, and Jon Corzine was still governor. The Democrats were trying to pass a bill to force Republican Christie to appoint a Democrat to fill Lautenberg's potentially vacant senate seat, and they were trying to prevent him from calling a special election. Christie seems to be arguing that a governor should have the power to appoint whom he likes to fill a senate seat. That should include calling for a special election -- although a "responsible governor" wouldn't do that "at this point."
Now, Christie is calling for a special election that costs an estimated $11.9 million instead of waiting an extra 20 days to have a senator elected concurrently with the gubernatorial general election.
"That is such a self-serving, corrupt absue of power -- I miss New Jersey so much!" said Stewart, a Lawrencville native.
Stewart then went on to skewer Christie's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono. "You're spending $12 million in taxpayer money to beat that lady?...You're already up 32 points in the polls. You know you're gonna win. You're gonna spend an extra $12 million to beat the spread?"
Stewart isn't the only one outraged. Republicans are angry that they are not guaranteed a Republican appointee in the senate until November 2014. And Rush Limbaugh went so far as to say Christie is going to end up running for president as a Democrat.
Here's The Daily Show: