Saying that "insiders and a few party elites" should not choose the person who permanently replaces Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday afternoon that there will be primaries on Aug. 13 and a special election on Oct. 16.
Lautenberg, a Democrat, died Monday at the age of 89. Christie, a Republican, said he could have appointed a successor who would stay in the seat until at least November 2014. But, Christie said, he believes the people of New Jersey should have a chance to vote before then.
The governor said he will soon be naming someone who will serve between now and the Oct. 16 general election.
After Lautenberg's death, there are 52 Democratic senators and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. There are 45 Republicans in the Senate.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.