US Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2014, a potential boon for who has laid the groundwork for a campaign for the seat.
Lautenberg, 89, retired from the Senate in 2000 after serving three terms. After a two-year hiatus from the Senate, Lautenberg was elected again to the Senate in 2002 and then re-elected in 2008.
On Friday, Lautenberg said in statement, he will announce his agenda for the balance of his term during a press conference in his hometown of Paterson. Among Lautenberg’s signature issues is gun control, a topic which has taken on new urgency in the wake of the Newtown school shootings.
“This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey. While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I'm going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the US Senate,” Lautenberg said.
While many observers speculated Lautenberg would not seek another six-year term due to his age, the veteran lawmaker still felt slighted when Booker announced his interest in the seat in December. In the weeks since, the Lautenberg camp has taken several shots at Booker, criticizing the 43-year-old mayor’s stewardship of the city and comparing him to an unruly child who needs a "spanking.”
Booker, however, never responded in kind and even urged continued support for Lautenberg. And Booker again had nothing but kind words for Lautenberg Thursday, praising his record of service.
“On a personal note, Senator Lautenberg has been a strong model of leadership and service to me since before I even considered entering elected office,” Booker said in a statement released Thursday. “Since I have been mayor, he has been an invaluable partner in so many of Newark's recent accomplishments and successes. I look forward to continuing to work with him for the remainder of his term in the senate and for many years to come.”
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