MR. RUSSERT: Why shouldn’t the people of New Jersey have a right to pick their next governor and not have Jim McGreevey stay in office for two months and then hand off the governorship to the Democratic president of the State Senate?
SEN. CORZINE: Well, Tim, first of all, you know I have a bit of a vested interest in this, so I believe that the primary issue that we ought to be looking at is what is in the best interest of state of New Jersey and the people we try to serve. I don’t think the issue ought to be about individuals or parties. By the way, a number of Democrats are asking for an early election. This is not a Republican-Democrat thing. There are a lot of people that believe we ought to go to a special election, which has to be announced before September 2.
I believe that as Governor McGreevey argued in the paper today, there’s an argument on both sides of this, about an orderly transition, fulfilling the obligations and the policies he’s put in place. I’m not going to opine personally, but I do think that there’s a lot to be said about an electoral process, picking a governor, as opposed to having it be this constitutional format we have. But that is the constitution in New Jersey.
MR. RUSSERT: Orderly transition? He’s been paralyzed by this scandal, and people acknowledge that on both sides of the aisle, why can’t the people of New…
SEN. CORZINE: Tim, I’m not sure that that’s the case. You know, he has the ability to actually clean up some of the money politics that has gone on in New Jersey, sort of “pay to play,” they use the term. And the fact is he could issue executive orders with the freedom of not having to worry about what the politics of it are now, that he might not have done when he was running for re-election in 2005. I could make that case. I can make the case that he is going to be a lot stricter in how we deal with sprawl, how we implement our environmental regulations in the country–in the state. I think there are a lot of good things he could do if he chooses to truly be independent. That’s the problem with politics in New Jersey. It’s actually doubly overemphasized, pay to play, that we see too often here in Washington.
MR. RUSSERT: If Governor McGreevey changed his mind and said, “All right. I’m resigning immediately. There will be a special election,” would you run for governor?
SEN. CORZINE: I suggested directly to the governor I was prepared to do that.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you urge him to resign immediately?
SEN. CORZINE: I think that it would have been inappropriate for me to tell him to resign. I think he needs to examine what’s in the best interest of the state. I think secondarily he should look at what is at issue for his family. And I think anyone can measure those things and balance them out and come out with different conclusions reasonably. I might have taken a different decision if I were in that position. I respect the fact that he’s made that decision. I accept it, and I think we ought to get on with the constitution…
MR. RUSSERT: It sounds like you wish, though, he had resigned immediately and allowed a special election.
SEN. CORZINE: No, Tim, I’m not saying–I think that he needed to examine what he thinks is in the best interest of the state. He needed to look at the implications for his family. He did that. I accept his decision.
MR. RUSSERT: By your willingness to run for governor now, if it became available, what does that say about your commitment to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate?
SEN. CORZINE: Tim, if you check my travel schedule and where I am seven days a week, trying to both raise the resources and make sure the organization’s in place and be helpful to our candidates, you’ll know I’m absolutely committed, and I am. I do think there’s a crisis of confidence with regard to government in the state of New Jersey, and if there is an ability to try to bring some orderliness to it, some independence and a commitment to good government and people think that I’m the one that would best do that, then I’m prepared to do that because I’m a little bit sick and tired of picking up the newspaper and seeing New Jersey not recognized for what its good people are about.
MR. RUSSERT: If there’s an opening 15 months from now in the governorship, would you run?
SEN. CORZINE: That’s speculative. I’m going to look at it. I love the United States Senate. There’s a lot of great things we’re going to work on here, like with Rick Santorum, and all kinds of things on kids’ accounts. I love the United States Senate. But there is a need to make sure that we have credible, honest government in New Jersey, and I’m committed to making sure that happens.
In other words, Corzine Leaves Door Ajar, in Case McGreevey Bows Out.
Politics NJ has a table that shows results from a Bergen Record survey with 51% in favor of “resign now” and 52% in favor of “resign Nov 15”. NJ’s the first state with 103% people — no wonder the traffic’s bad.
Commenting on yesterday’s “I have work to do”, Roberto asks, “The work he has done so far is bad enough, he’s got more??”, a reasonable question in view of articles titled Energized governor strives for big finish. John Farmer of the Star Ledger warns us to be Careful what you vote for in an article about the current NJ constitution, which was enacted in 1947. In yesterday’s Star Ledger, details on last week’s goings-on Statehouse fight gets nasty fast, and speculation that “Now the governor may have assured his erstwhile foe [Republican Bret Schundler] another shot at the state’s top job”.
Contact the politicians and insist that we are allowed to vote for a change. Call your State representatives, and also:
New Jersey Democratic Party Contact page
Phone the Democratic Party: (609) 392-DEMS (3367)
Snail mail: McGreevey
The State House
P. O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
email contact page