After a nearly 30-year Congressional term, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced Thursday he will not seek office in the 2014 election.
“I will be traveling to my hometown of Paterson tomorrow to announce that I will not seek re-election in 2014," read a brief, one-paragraph statement from Launtenberg's press office.
"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 U.S. Senate," his message concluded.
Lautenberg's announcement also promised that he was undergoing "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," although in what capacity, he did not report.
In July 2012, Newark Mayor Cory Booker told press that he was "strongly considering the options" at the end of his mayoral term, and that Lautenberg's Senate seat might be among them. Then, in December 2012, he clarified his choice to run for Senate as Gov. Chris Christie rode a strong high of post-Sandy support.
While Congressman Frank Pallone (D-06) hasn't officially announced a campaign for any position this year, insiders told Patch Pallone isn't ruling out a run against Booker for Lautenberg's seat.
"I have peen proud to serve with Senator Lautenberg and even prouder to call him a friend. I look forward to continuing to work together in the coming months to continue to address the issues that are important to him andNew Jersey. Like all New Jerseyans, I am grateful for his service to our state and our nation," Pallone said in a statement.
Christie said that while he and Lautenberg haven't always gotten along, he admires the Senator.
“Frank Lautenberg and I have had our differences through the years, but I’ve always respected him for his tenacity, devotion to the people of New Jersey and his love for and commitment to public service. I will always be grateful for his doggedness in fighting with me and the delegation to ensure congressional passage of an aid package after Hurricane Sandy that is delivering necessary assistance to our residents. I wish him the best in his retirement.”
New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D)—who hasn't announced if he'll run for U.S. Senate, but did decline to pursue the governorship in 2013—released a statement on the news today as well:
Senator Lautenberg has fought tirelessly for the people of New Jersey during his time in the U.S. Senate. Frank is someone who never backed down when it came to the issues that mattered most to our state. I look forward to working with him in the months ahead to continue to advance the priorities that will improve our state’s economy and the lives of New Jersey’s middle-class and working families.
Lautenberg's office also produced a .PDF (see above) that listed the highlights of his career as an elected official, which included his work on public transit, environmental issues and gun control issues in New Jersey and on Capitol Hill. He is the only remaining World War II veteran in the U.S. Senate.