Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) – Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election this year to fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat wasn't met with open arms Tuesday by a fellow Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead," Armey accused the governor of trying to curry favor with Democrats by not appointing a Republican to the seat until 2014. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.
"All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said. "Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity. The first rule of politics is 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."
By Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for a special election this year to replace Frank Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic senator who died on Monday.
This decision will be criticized by some Republicans, who will view the decision as Christie giving up an opportunity to put a Republican in the Senate through 2014.
“Having someone hold that position for 18 months is not the right call,” an ally of Governor Christie told CNN. “It would be against the Christie brand – it’s not who he is, no one should have an appointed elected position for 18 months. People should have a voice and a choice for this.”
The Christie brand, as he runs for reelection this November, has so far meant he’s been able to win over the Garden State’s sizable independent and Democratic populations, and looks likely to be re-elected fairly easily.