Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey on Tuesday excoriated New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) decision to hold a special election to fill the seat vacated by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), accusing him of “debilitating stupidity” in not appointing a Republican outright.
“This is what rankles conservatives,” Armey told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “There’s not a Democratic governor that wouldn’t have seized the opportunity to appoint a Democrat senator, no matter what the status. In some states they may try to sell it and get rich off it as they did in Illinois. All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That’s the correct move for him to make.”
He added: “Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity, the first rule of politics is don’t lose the friends you already have for the friends you’re never going to get. And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he’s crazy.
“Democrats hate Republicans,” he continued. “Democrats aren’t going to vote for Republicans. They’re not going to get a break from Democrats. They will use him, Obama will use him for political cover as he’s done twice now and then actively campaign against him.”
Christie said in a press conference on Tuesday that he wanted to do the “right thing” and let the people of the Garden State pick their own representative in the Senate. Christie will, however, likely appoint a Republican in the interim until the special election takes place in October.
“We must allow our citizens to have their say over who will represent them in the Senate for the majority of the next year-and-a-half,” he said. “People of New Jersey deserve to have that voice.”