By David Madden

GLASSBORO, N.J. (CBS) — Speculation abounds in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie has some difficult decisions to make in filling the US Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg (see related story).

Who to pick as an interim successor?  When to hold a special election?  And what about Christie’s own political aspirations?

(Dr. Larry Butler of Rowan University.  Photo provided)

(Dr. Larry Butler of Rowan University. Photo provided)

Larry Butler, a political analyst at Rowan University (right), expects that Christie will select a Republican in the short term.  And therein lies a problem.

“The New Jersey Republican party at the state level doesn’t have a really long bench of people that you would point to as being obvious candidates,” Butler tells KYW Newsradio, although perhaps state senators Joe Kryillos or Tom Kean, or maybe lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno might fill the bill.

But Christie has also played the bipartisan card a lot.

“Now he’s faced with making a very public political decision that is more than, perhaps, rewarding a friend or supporter. His decision will affect his own career as governor and his reelection and, possibly, a run for the president,” says political analyst Daniel Douglas at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

As for scheduling a special election, that’s a murky area in state law.  Democrats want one this November, Republicans in 2014.   It’s quite possibly a question that could wind up in court.

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