Frankie, We Hardly Knew Ye

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

In a surprise to no one, Sen. Frank Lautenberg announced today that he will not seek re-election.

The happiest man in New Jersey? Cory Booker.

The unhappiest? Probably Geraldo Rivera.

But Lautenberg’s decision to retire, rather than face what would have likely been a brusing primary battle against Booker, now opens the door to a bruising primary fight without him.

In effect, all the Democrats who diecded not to run against Gov. Chris Christie had left the door open to running against Lautenberg — so that means that the primary that would ahve taken place in 2013 now will take place in 2014.

The names are already out there; In addition to Booker, Rep. Frank Pallone, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and even Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver have all expressed unterest in running. By the end of the day, the list might expand more.

But the reality is, none of them will beat Booker if he’s in. He might have a primary, but his path to the nomination is going to be about as easy as Buono’s.

Which is what might make those other guys start rethinking their decision to sit out Christie. Or else, start paying alot more attention to the problems surrounding Sen. Bob Menendez.