Jeff Chiesa

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Jeff Chiesa
Jeff Chiesa.jpg
Interim U.S. Senator, New Jersey
Former Member
In office
June 10, 2013-October 16, 2013
Term ends
October 16, 2013
PredecessorFrank Lautenberg (D)
Base salary$141,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedJune 6, 2013
Appointed byGov. Chris Christie (R)
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Attorney General, New Jersey
January 10, 2012 - June 10, 2013
Bachelor'sUniversity of Notre Dame (1987)
J.D.Catholic University of America (1990)
Date of birthJune 22, 1965
Place of birthBound Brook, New Jersey
Office website
Jeff Chiesa (b. June 22, 1965, in Bound Brook, NJ) was an interim member of the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, filling the seat left vacant by the passing of Democrat Frank Lautenberg. He was appointed by Republican Governor Chris Christie on June 6, 2013 for a term effective through October 16, 2013.[1] He previously served as the Attorney General of New Jersey.

Chiesa was first appointed attorney general in December 2011 by Gov. Chris Christie to replace outgoing attorney general Paula Dow, and assumed office on January 10, 2012.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Chiesa is an average Center member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Center Party on the majority of bills.


Chiesa grew up in Bound Brook, New Jersey. His father, a chemical plant worker, died when he was 8 years old, leaving his mother, a longtime public school teacher, with the challenge of raising Chiesa and his two younger sisters largely on her own.[3]

After spending several years away from his home state to attend Notre Dame and Catholic University, where he received his Bachelor's in Business Administration in Accounting and J.D., respectively, Chiesa returned to New Jersey in 1991 to work for the law firm of Dughi & Hewit.[4]. He now lives in Branchburg with his wife and two children.[3]

It was at Dughi & Hewit that Chiesa reportedly met New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.[3] In 2002 Chiesa joined Christie to the U.S. Attorney's Office where he led some of what have been described as high-profile public corruption cases. For example, Chiesa led a case against former New Jersey Senate President John Lynch.[3]


  • B.A., University of Notre Dame (1987)
  • J.D., Catholic University of America (1990)

Political career

U.S. Senate (June 10, 2013 - Oct. 2013)

Chiesa was an interim member of the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, filling the seat left vacant by the passing of Democrat Frank Lautenberg. He was appointed by Republican Governor Chris Christie on June 6, 2013 for a term effective through October 16, 2013.[1]

New Jersey Attorney General (2012-June 10, 2013)

In 2009, Chiesa led the transition team when Chris Christie (R) stepped into office as Governor of New Jersey. He was named Christie’s chief counsel in Jan. 2010, and served in this position until assuming the office of[4]attorney general on January 10, 2012. Since New Jersey's attorneys general serve 4 year terms concurrent with the governor, Chiesa's term was set to end in Jan. 2014. It was cut short, however, when Christie appointed him on June 6, 2013 to fill a short-term vacancy in the U.S. Senate following the death of veteran Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). When the appointment took effect June 10, it left the office of attorney general open. Christie nominated John Hoffman as acting attorney general.[5][6]


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Chiesa's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[8]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "Yes" Chiesa voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[9]


Missed votes in U.S. Senate

A review of voting records showed Chiesa missed 12 of 56, or 21 percent, of the votes cast between when he was sworn in on June 10, 2013, and August 2013.[10] This is more than any other senator in the nearly two-month period.[10] By comparson, Chiesa’s Democratic counterpart, Bob Menendez, missed one vote during the same period, records show.[10]

Chiesa, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, also missed several hearings, including one in which 22 bills were moved to the Senate floor.[10] Chiesa’s office said he missed the committee hearings and two Senate voting sessions, on July 29 and 30 2013, because he was on a family vacation that had been scheduled before he took office and came just days before the Senate adjourned for its six-week break.[10]

"The Senator had numerous commitments made well prior to the appointment," Ken Lundberg, a spokesman for Chiesa, said. "Most of those fell away due to his Senate commitment, but it was his decision to honor two familial commitments including attending his son’s 8th grade graduation."[10]

The floor votes missed by Chiesa included controversial nominations to the National Labor Relations Board, confirmation of James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an amendment by Rand Paul (R) to increase border security.[10]



See also: United States Senate special election in New Jersey, 2013

Chiesa was appointed interim U.S. Senator of New Jersey by Governor Chris Christie on June 6, 2013. He filled the seat left vacant by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. A special primary was held on August 13, 2013, and the special general election was held on October 16, 2013. Chiesa does not plan to run in the special election.[1]


Chiesa was nominated to serve as the state's chief law enforcement officer by Governor Chris Christie in December 2011. On January 10, 2012 Chiesa was sworn in as New Jersey's 59th attorney general.[11]


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[12]

Chiesa most often votes with:

Chiesa least often votes with:

Voting with party


Jeff Chiesa voted with the Republican Party 69.2 percent of the time, which ranked 44th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[13]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Lautenberg (D)
U.S. Senate, New Jersey
June 10, 2013–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Paula Dow (D)
New Jersey Attorney General
January 10, 2012-June 10, 2013
Succeeded by
John Hoffman