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sad things

Frank Lautenberg, the Senate’s Last World War II Veteran, Has Died

Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee Chairman Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) presides over a hering on "Superstorm Sandy: The Devastating Impact on the Nation's Largest Transportation Systems." December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Lhota, Shumer and others testified before the subcommittee about the need for more federal dollars for Superstorm Sandy recovery. Frank Lautenberg.

New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg passed away from viral pneumonia at the age of 89 this morning. In addition to being the Senate's oldest member, Lautenberg was also the chamber's last surviving World War II veteran — and since we don't see a lot of 90-year-olds running for Senate, presumably its last ever. After enlisting in the army as an 18-year-old in 1942 and serving in France and Belgium as a technician, Lautenberg attended Columbia University on the G.I. Bill. 

Chris Christie will appoint Lautenberg's temporary replacement in the Senate, and a special election for the seat will be held later this year, which means there's a good chance we'll see Cory Booker become a senator a year earlier than anticipated. 

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images