Andrews announced Wednesday that he is a candidate in the June 3 primary. He told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press that he had received a number of calls urging him to run after another potential candidate decided to stand down.
Lautenberg, now 84, would be 90 at the end of another term in the Senate. When he first ran for the Senate in 1982, at the age of 58, he suggested that his Republican opponent, Rep. Millicent Fenwick, was too old at the age of 72.
While most of the state's leading Democrats, including Gov. Jon Corzine, continue to back Lautenberg, Andrews received important support Thursday. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak is from North Jersey, while Andrews is from the south, and is known for his fundraising prowess.
In a letter to Andrews, Lesniak praised his "vision, dedication and energy," saying they would help end the Iraq War.
Lautenberg retired from the Senate in 2000 but returned to politics two years later when Sen. Robert Torricelli gave up his seat amid a fundraising scandal.