Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer filed an emergency lawsuit yesterday with the NJ Superior Court Appellate Division to stop the Special Primary and Election that Governor Chris Christie called on Tuesday, according to a report on PolitickerNJ.
The Special Primary is scheduled for August 13. The Special Election is scheduled for October 16. Democratic and Republican Primary candidates must submit petitions with 1000 valid signatures by 4pm on Monday June 10 in order to get on the ballot. Independent or third party candidates must file petitions with 1000 valid signatures by August 13.
NorthJersey.com reports that the Appellate Court has ruled that the suit can proceed.
The plaintiffs are Marie Corfield, Joe Grillo and Joseph Danielson.
Corfield is a Democratic Assembly candidate from the 16th district (Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer and Somerset counties). She lost a special Assembly election to Republican Donna Simon last November. Corfield first came into the public eye when the YouTube video of her exchange with Christie at a 2010 Town Hall meeting went viral.
Grillo is the Executive Director of the Monmouth County Democratic Organization. Danielson is the Chairman of the Franklin Township (Somerset County) Democratic Committee.
Their suit contends that the Special Primary and Special Election will cause “voter suppression and confusion.” The Democrats want the Special Election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg to be held on November 5, the same day as New Jersey’s next general election.
During his press conference announcing Attorney General Jeff Chiesa as Lautenberg’s temporary replacement, Christie said holding federal and state elections on the same day was contrary to the intentions of the framers of the NJ Constitution. He further stated that the option of scheduling a special election in the manner is which he did clearly legal under two conflicting election law statutes. Christie said that New Jersey’s courts have a history of activism, particularly with regard to election law and that he chose a the method of electing a new U.S. Senator that was most likely to survive a court challenge.