Monday, June 03, 2013

Obituaries

Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, 89, has died after a battle with viral pneumonia. He was the oldest U.s. senator and had returned to that body after then-senator Robert Torricelli abandoned his re-election bid.

Gov. Chris Christie will appoint a successor.

Along with Lautenberg's legislative accomplishments, he had a string of electoral coups, including an upset over someone he called "the most popular candidate in the country" in his first race for Senate, and a victory in a strange, abbreviated, back-from-retirement campaign 20 years later.

He ini tially retired in 2000 after 18 years in the Senate, saying he did not have the drive to raise money for a fourth campaign. He served on the boards of three companies, two graduate schools and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

But New Jersey Democrats recruited Lautenberg out of retirement in September 2002 as an 11th-hour replacement for Robert Torricelli, Lautenberg's longtime rival, who had abandoned his re-election bid just five weeks before Election Day.

Republicans went to court to prevent what they called the Democratic Party's ballot "switcheroo." When that failed, they attacked Lautenberg as a political relic ill-suited for dangerous times.
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