Pallone tells NJ Dem congressman he's running for Senate

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) will run for the Senate seat left open by Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-N.J.) death, according to a fellow New Jersey Democrat.

"Frank Pallone just told me he's running," Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) told The Hill Tuesday afternoon as he exited the House floor.

Pallone is likely to face primary opposition. Newark Mayor Cory Booker has also been gearing up for a run. The two had already been moving strongly toward campaigns. Lautenberg had announced earlier this year he planned to retire at the end of his term.

Pallone's office did not respond to a request to confirm or deny Sires's statement.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) also said Tuesday afternoon he's considering a bid.

"I would think about it," he said to a group of reporters outside the House floor. 

"I'm not going to entertain the idea this week. Right now I'm concerned about Frank Lautenberg's family, about his legacy, and that's what I'm concentrated on. But yes, I have thought about it."

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate. The special election may be more attractive to the congressmen than a general election, as they can run without having to give up their House seats.

A potentially crowded Democratic field, combined with the short time before the August primary and October general election, could complicate Democrats' hopes of holding the seat, especially if the primary turns testy.