New Jersey has only one state-wide elected state official, the Governor, who is elected to a four-year term. The state's governorship is often cited as being the constitutionally strongest in the Union. Governors may not serve more than two consecutive terms, but are eligible to return to the governorship after leaving office for a term. Since there is no Lieutenant Governor (or equivalent), the President of the Senate becomes Acting Governor in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy.
The former Governor, Jim McGreevey (D), came out of a reform movement that swept out a corrupt municipal government in one of New Jersey's largest towns, Woodbridge Township. However, McGreevey's ambition has always been at least as apparent as any commitment to particular issues or viewpoints. After losing a close race to incumbent Governor Christine Todd Whitman in the 1997 election, he ran again in 2001 and waselected to a term that would have expired at the end of 2005. Governor McGreevey is intelligent, personable, and was said to have had Presidential ambitions.
McGreevey's term came to an abrupt and premature in 2004. In the face of allegations of an affair with a member of his administration, he announced he would resign his position as Governor of New Jersey on Nov. 15, 2004. McGreevey made a memorable speech, saying that "My truth, is that I am a gay American." According to the allegations, McGreevey had an affair with Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen initially nominated by McGreevey to serve as the state's top Homeland Security Advisor. Speculation immediately arose surrounding Mr. Cipel's qualifications, because his previous positions had been in public relations. His nomimation was short-lived.
There is no Lieutenant Governor position in New Jersey. Instead, when a governor resigns the President Pro Tem of the Senate assumes the Governorship. Currently, Richard M. Codey (D-Essex) is serving as governor. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is governor-elect, having won the 2005 election.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Full-Time and Part-Time Legislatures," the New Jersey Legislature is a full or near full time, high-pay, large-staff Professional Legislature. The Legislature is comprised of a 40 seat Senate and an 80 seat Assembly. The same districts are used for each chamber's elections, with each of the forty districts electing one Senator and two Assemblypersons. Assembly terms are two years long, with elections in each odd-numbered year. The entire Senate is elected three times each decade, with elections held in years ending with 1, 3, and 7. Both houses currently have narrow Democratic majorities. No term limits restrict the service of New Jersey legislators.
New Jersey's highest court had an outstanding reputation among both national, non-partisan legal circles and advocates of progressive government during the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, it has since fallen into relative disrepute among both groups.
The state is divided into twenty-one counties, each of which is divided into several municipalites (566 in total). There is no unincorporated territory in the state, so each resident is represented by federal, state, county and municipal government. Additionally, each school district is an independantly chartered entity, which, except in a few cities, elects its own Board of Education. School districts usually, but not always, comprise one municipality. Typically, school taxes far exceed municipal taxes, which in turn far exceed county taxes.
New Jersey is the only state where elected county officials are called Freeholders.
Demographics and Elections
The vast majority of New Jersey's population resides in either the New York or the Philadelphia media markets, making the state extraordinarily expensive to campaign in. Thus both Primary and General Elections for Governor and U.S. Senator may be particularly amenable to a well-run field campaign that relies relatively little on inefficient media. Ir also has a very small land area compared to most states, making it relatively quick to travel across.
For most of its post-Civil War history, New Jersey's presidential voting has closely mirrored national percentages. However, in the last several cycles it has swung to the Democrats. Because of migration from New York City, it has gotten more progressive over the years. It is still a state the Republicans can win, but probably only when they are winning nationally by a substantial margin.
New Jersey Congressional Delegation
- House of Representatives
- (7 Democrats - 6 Republicans)
- NJ-01 Rep.: Rob Andrews (D)
- NJ-02 Rep.: Frank LoBiondo (R)
- NJ-03 Rep.: Jon Runyan (R)
- NJ-04 Rep.: Chris Smith (R)
- NJ-05 Rep.: Scott Garrett (R)
- NJ-06 Rep.: Frank Pallone, Jr. (D)
- NJ-07 Rep.: Leonard Lance (R)
- NJ-08 Rep.: Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D)
- NJ-09 Rep.: Steve Rothman (D)
- NJ-10 Rep.: Donald Payne (D)
- NJ-11 Rep.: Rodney Frelinghuysen] (R)
- NJ-12 Rep.: Rush Holt (D)
- NJ-13 Rep.: Albio Sires (D)
- US Congressional Delegations from New Jersey (Wikipedia)
New Jersey State Government
- Executive Branch
- Legislative Branch
- Judicial Branch
- State Constitution
- New Jersey State Constitution (State of New Jersey)
Cities & Counties
- county and municipal web sites (State of New Jersey)
- New Jersey County Selection Map (U.S. Census)
- Brick, New Jersey
- NJ Division of Elections (New Jersey Secretary of State)
- New Jersey election results
- see U.S. elections
New Jersey Democratic Party
New Jersey progressive resources
- New Jersey Newspapers (NewsLink.org)
- New Jersey Newspapers and News Media Guide(ABYZ News Links)
- New Jersey Politicians On The Issues (OnTheIssues.org)
- Alicia Menendez
- Alive and Kickin
- Blog the Fifth
- Blue Jersey
- Capitol Quickies
- The Center of NJ Life
- Channel Surfing
- Daily Kos: New Jersey
- Daily Newarker
- Frank Lobiondo Record
- Freedom to Tinker
- Garden State Grapevine
- Herb Jackson
- Hoboken Journal
- Hoboken Now
- Jersey Blogs
- Jersey Jazz Man
- Lassiter Space
- Middletown Mike
- More Monmouth Musings
- NJ Domestic Partnership
- NJ Politics Unusual
- The Opinion Mill
- Other Spaces
- Plaintalker II
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