(CNN) - It may be one of the most highly watched news conferences held in Trenton, New Jersey in a long time.
With the national political spotlight firmly focused on Chris Christie as he mulls whom he'll name to replace his state's longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at age 89, the Garden State's Republican governor Tuesday morning announced he'd go before cameras and reporters in the afternoon.
Three sources close to the governor tell CNN that Christie "will lay out the process for the selection of a new senator."
As Christie runs this year for what is expected to be a relatively easy re-election, he now invites unwanted attention as he decides on a temporary replacement for Lautenberg, a Democrat.
If he doesn't name a conservative, that could complicate his already strained relationship with national conservatives, which could spell trouble if Christie decides to run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Many on the right are still upset with Christie's praise of President Barack Obama personally and the federal response in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, just days before last November's presidential election.
While Christie's approval rating in New Jersey soared after Sandy and has remained high, some commentators in his own party blasted him for his praise of Obama, saying it contributed to the defeat of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
But naming a conservative or partisan to the Senate seat could hurt Christie with the independent and Democrats he needs to win re-election this November in a blue state.
The other quandary for Christie is when to hold an election to allow New Jersey voters to fill the seat. Two conflicting New Jersey state laws over when to hold a special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat adds additional complexity.
One statue states that "if a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this State in the United States Senate, it shall be filled at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless such vacancy shall happen within 70 days next preceding such election."
The next general election in the Garden State is this November, when Christie is up for re-election. Since Lautenberg's death is not within 70 days of that election, a special election to fill the final year of Lautenberg's term could be held this November.
But another state statue states that if the vacancy happens within 70 days of the primary that precedes the next general election, the special election will be held at the second succeeding election.
The primary for this November's contests is Tuesday. Since Lautenberg's death is well within that window, under this provision an election would not be held until November 2014, with the winner serving a full six-year term.
Both statues agree that the governor is authorized to set the date for such an election.
There are some obvious political advantages for Christie to put the election off until 2014.
Polls show that Christie has a 2-1 advantage right now over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono. But a Republican strategist from New Jersey tells CNN that a special Senate election this November could increase Democratic turnout, especially if Newark Mayor Cory Booker is on the ballot. Booker is considering his own run for Senate in 2014.
Even with a very large lead over Buono, why would a GOP governor running for re-election in a blue state want to invite higher Democratic turnout this year?
Sources close to the governor say Christie has made no decisions because it's so early in the process. But one of the sources tells CNN that another option is for a special election to be held this October. While that would benefit Christie by not having a Senate contest on the ballot the same day Christie runs for re-election, it's a much more expensive option, as Garden State taxpayers would have to foot the bill to pay the extra election. And that's troublesome for a governor who touts his fiscal conservative credentials.
If Christie decides to hold the Senate contest in 2014 with a hand-picked replacement serving 18 months by Election Day, it could invite legal action from New Jersey Democrats.
State party Chairman John Wisniewski tells CNN that "it's a slap in the face to New Jersey voters not to have a say in who represents them for a year and a half."
Wisniewski says New Jersey Democrats expect the election to be this November, pointing to what he says is the most recent statue by state lawmakers on the timing of such a vote.
The Democrats currently have a 55 (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) – 45 majority in the Senate. If Christie names a Republican to replace Lautenberg, the Democrat's majority would slip to 54-46.
CNN's Peter Hamby and Robert Yoon contributed to this report