Frank Lautenberg

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) has passed away, according to his office. Lautenberg represented the state of New Jersey for nearly thirty years during two separate stints in office. The senator was 89 years old and suffered from numerous ailments. He was one of the oldest senators currently serving.

Now that his seat is empty a temporary replacement will be selected by Republican Governor Chris Christie. As a result it is likely the replacement will be a Republican.

This temporary replacement will serve until a special election takes place. Whoever wins the special election will serve the remainder of the term which ends in 2014. Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) was already strongly considering a run for the seat in 2014, so it is likely he is also going to consider a run in the special election.

Lautenberg was normally a reliable liberal vote for the Democratic caucus and a critic of the war in Iraq. In the short term, his passing has moved the balance of power in the Senate slightly to the right.