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October 3, 2002

Commenting on the controversies surrounding New Jersey’s senatorial election, decrepit-but-amusing gargoyle William Safire writes:
“Nothing is more fatal than a dodge,” young Winston Churchill told Commons in 1906. “Wrongs will be forgiven, sufferings and losses will be forgiven or forgotten ..but anything like a trick will always rankle.”
Not for the first time, I agree with Safire. Why, I’ve been making similar observations since, oh, December 2000. [12:07 AM]
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Comments on Commenting on the controversies:

Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2002, 06:43 PM:

As with Florida's Republicans, I too dislike this dodging by New Jersey's Democrats. But as also in this case, I am willing to accept a court decision I don't like. (Of course, in this case the USSC has not yet spoken, but may.)

A couple comments on Safire's article.

If the courts hadn't accepted their pinch-hitter, [the Democrats] could have induced Torricelli to resign immediately and persuaded New Jersey's Democratic governor to appoint Lautenberg to the vacancy, thereby canceling this fall's election.

Safire is incorrect here. The seat is up anyway. Had Torricelli resigned the seat, the election would still be held. And had Torricelli remained on the ballot and gotten the most votes, the winner would have been ... Bob Torricelli. Under this scenario, Lautenberg would have served from his appointment until the end of the term in January, no longer.

Because [Jean Carnahan's] appointment runs only "until the next election," if Talent wins he would take office promptly — and not wait until January, when other elected senators take their seats. Then, as the newspaper The Hill notes, in the event of a post-election lame-duck session, the one-vote Senate majority would switch to Republicans. At least for a couple of months, Daschle would no longer be Senate majority leader — no matter who wins the other Senate races.

That depends entirely on whether the Republicans choose to force a vote. If they didn't, the Democrats would remain in office. I expect they would.