POLITICS
06/05/2013 04:20 pm ET Updated Jun 05, 2013

Jon Bramnick Considering Bid For Senate Seat In New Jersey

A Republican lawmaker who once suggested that Snooki needed "anger counseling" is considering a bid for New Jersey's open U.S. Senate seat.

PolitickerNJ.com reported Wednesday that state Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) has been contacting Republican leaders in the state to say that he is seriously considering entering the August primary to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) on Monday. Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday announced that Lautenberg's seat would be filled in an Oct. 16 special election, with party nominees picked in an Aug. 13 primary. Candidates have until Monday afternoon to enter the primary.

Bramnick could not be reached for immediate comment by The Huffington Post, but he told the Star-Ledger Wednesday that he has not made a final decision.

Bramnick is one of several Republicans considering a Senate bid, along with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown). Kean, who lost a 2006 Senate bid, represents the same legislative district as Bramnick and resides in an adjoining neighborhood on Westfield's north side. Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, a tea party favorite who runs the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said he will seek the GOP nomination. Lonegan has lost two bids for the GOP nomination for governor.

On the Democratic side, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Rush Holt are expected to enter the primary. Christie has not said whom he will appoint to hold the seat until October.

Bramnick, a close Christie ally, has served in the Assembly since early 2003. He represents a safe GOP district encompassing upper-middle-class communities in Union, Somerset and Morris Counties.

A trial attorney and stand-up comic, Bramnick has been named the funniest lawyer in New Jersey four times. He has led a campaign against Snooki, the star of the former MTV reality show, "Jersey Shore," through a series of photo contests he has used to depict the real shore.

"I think they better limit their alcohol intake or need anger counseling," Bramnick told the Westfield Patch with a laugh in 2010 when discussing his opinion of Snooki and her castmates.

Bramnick spent two terms as a city councilman in Plainfield, a largely African-American urban center, early in his career. He is one of the few Republicans to win election in Plainfield.

Bramnick is close to several members of Christie's inner circle, including Bill Palatucci, Christie's closest friend in politics, and Mike DuHaime, the governor's political consultant. Palatucci and DuHaime also live in Westfield.

Despite the close ties, Bramnick has at times tried to distance himself from Christie, including telling the Westfield Board of Education in 2010 that he disagreed with Christie's cuts to state aid to school districts, which led to most districts in the state losing over 75 percent of their state aid. Bramnick's comments came amid anger in Westfield over the town losing $4.22 million in state education aid, which represented a 90-percent cut.

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