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Chiesa to Replace Late Lautenberg in US Senate

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (l) nominates Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to temporarily fill the U.S. Senate seat that opened up after Senator Frank Lautenberg's death, June 6, 2013, in Trenton, New Jersey.
The top legal official in New Jersey has been named to fill a short-term vacancy in the U.S. Senate.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Thursday picked the state's attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, to be one of the state's two senators through mid-October, when a special election will be held to fill the position through early 2015.

The seat was vacated earlier this week when Senator Frank Lautenberg died at the age of 89. The wealthy businessman, a Democrat, was the last-surviving World War II veteran in the Senate.

Chiesa, a Republican, has known Christie - also a Republican - for more than two decades and was his chief lawyer before being nominated as the state's attorney general in late 2011. A former federal prosecutor, Chiesa initiated a state-wide program to buy back guns to keep them from criminals.

Chiesa said he has no plans to seek election to the Senate seat in the October 16 election. Several Republican and Democratic candidates have already said they plan to seek their party nominations for the seat in a mid-August primary ballot.