Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Abolition in New Jersey?

Everyone has heard by now of the political earthquake that has rocked the Garden State. Gov. James E. McGreevey is resigning after having an affair with his former homeland security advisor.

What some people might not be aware of is how this could play out in the death penalty debate. McGreevey, for now, is saying that he will not resign until November. This would mean that the president of the Senate would be interim governor for a year. That guy's name escapes me, but his record on the death penalty is mixed: On the one hand, he supports capital punishment. On the other hand, he was a SPONSOR of a bill (vetoed by McGreevey) that would have authorized a two-year study of the death penalty.

But wait, there's more....

U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, a committed abolitionist, is the frontrunner for New Jersey's next gubernatorial election (New Jersey, like Virginia and a few other states, elects its governors in odd-numbered years. The next election is November 2005.)

But wait....there's STILL more....

Now both Democrats and Republicans are lobbying McGreevey to step down quickly, which would allow a special election to be held this November. Such an election would work to Corzine's advantage because the Republicans would not have time to run anyone serious against him -- and because Dems are going to wipe out Repubs on the New Jersey ballot this year anyway.

Right now, McGreevey is holding firm, saying he will not resign until November. But I think he'll cave. Just you watch.

Of course, if Corzine is elected, it will still be up to our activists to get an abolition bill through the New Jersey Legislature. Corzine can't do that for us. But we're getting organized. And I think New Jersey may just be our next abolition state!

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