(CNN) - Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election this year to fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat wasn't met with open arms Tuesday by a fellow Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead," Armey accused the governor of trying to curry favor with Democrats by not appointing a Republican to the seat until 2014. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.
"All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said. "Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity. The first rule of politics is 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."
A Democratic governor would have "seized the opportunity" and appointed a senator from his own party, Armey argued Tuesday.
"People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity," Armey said. "Most often it's done by the left, but frequently done by Republicans as well."
Until last year, Armey served as the chairman of the conservative, tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks.