New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa will step in to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Frank Lautenberg. Don't spend too much time memorizing how to spell that tricky last name: He'll only be in the seat for the next 130 days or so.
Governor Chris Christie announced the appointment today in the state capital of Trenton. Chiesa, a Republican, was appointed to the position of attorney general in 2011. He and Christie have worked together several times before, both in private practice and for the U.S. Attorney's office. As reported by Politico, Christie told reporters that "it became clear" after consideration that Chiesa "would be the best person to represent the people of New Jersey in the United States Senate."
But not for long. Chiesa has pledged not to run for the Senate in the special election slated for October 16. So once he gets to Washington and takes the oath of office, he'll likely already be watching the clock. We've gone ahead and made this little ticker to display how much time Chiesa has left in his Senate term, once it starts.
It will nonetheless not be the shortest Senate term in history, unless he resigns after one day.
Chiesa's views on policy remain somewhat murky. At the press conference, as the Washington Post noted, he called himself a "conservative Republican," and indicated that a lot of federal policy issues "are new to me." He supports stronger border security as a tool for reducing illegal immigration. And in April, Christie and Chiesa joined forces to call for expanded background checks — perhaps one of the most controversial votes Chiesa might face.
Chiesa was also in the news recently for his role in cracking down on Jersey restaurants that were serving rubbing alcohol in lieu of name-brand liquor. Before that, he helped halt an attempted hit by the manager of one Tick Tock Diner on the manager of another. He is, indeed, ready for DC.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Chiesa was elected to the attorney general position. He was appointed.