In a major surprise, Governor-elect Jon Corzine of New Jersey announced today his choice to replace him in the United States Senate: Edie Falco, better known to New Jersey voters as Carmelo Soprano, the estranged wife of reputed mobster Tony Soprano. Corzine had been expected to choose one of the members of New Jersey's congressional delegation; every one of the Democrats in the delegation had sought the prized Senate seat, with some, like Bob Menendez and Frank Pallone, aggressively campaigning for the appointment.
Faced with the prospect of alienating all those he bypassed to choose a rival colleague, he surprised them all by going in a different and unconventional direction, while countering the expected criticism for bypassing a Hispanic candidate, Menendez, by choosing a woman. Falco, a gifted actress, has for several years portrayed Carmelo Soprano to stunning effect, becoming synonymous with the character. "Carmelo Soprano epitomizes mainstream New Jersey family life," Corzine said. "She has worked for everything she has, endured an abusive relationship with her husband and emerged stronger. She knows what it is to struggle, and knows the challenges of bringing kids up in today's no-holds-barred society."
When asked about Falco's qualifications to serve in the Senate, Corzine noted that she has had broad experience dealing with low-lifes, violent psychopaths and amoral thugs. "Who is better prepared to face the House Republicans in a conference committee?" he asked.