The Anne Thompson trial balloon

As Gov. Jon Corzine continues his search for a Democratic Lt. Governor candidate, it seems that he is ruling out more potential running mates than he considers. Part of the problem is that every legitimate contender comes with a group of Democrats opposed to his or her candidacy. That appears especially true for State Senators Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen) and Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who for a time looked like the front runners. Corzine also faces considerable pressure to pick an African American for the post, although Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Newark Mayor Cory Booker, State Senators Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Nia Gill (D-Montclair), Ronald Rice (D-Newark) and Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange), and Assemblyman Herbert Conaway (D-Delanco) are, for a variety of reasons, not under serious consideration.

Corzine might be missing one LG candidate with enormous gravitas and few political enemies: U.S. District Court Judge Anne Thompson, who was the first woman and the first African American to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey. She became the first Black to serve as a county prosecutor when Gov. Brendan Byrne appointed her in 1975 (after a stint as a public defender and as the Trenton Municipal Court Judge), and has spent the last thirty years as a federal judge. Thompson is 75, slightly older than Weinberg and a decade younger than U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Attorney General Anne Milgram was Thompson’s law clerk.