Lt. Gov.

I voted this morning and Hudson County being Hudson County, the only remotely competitive race on the ballot was for governor. I left the booth wishing there had been more choices, and then it hit me: there was a question on the ballot about whether the state should have a lieutenant governor. At least there’s supposed to be; I completely missed it. I have far toomany senior moments for a 26-year-old, somaybe it’s just me, but I’m wondering if other people missed the question too. There’s been very little attention paid to the lt. gov. issue, few newspaper stories and no slick ads. A polllast month showed the measure should pass. I guess this is because the average person’s knee jerk reaction is to assume a post called “lieutenant governor” must be important and therefore necessary. I’m not so sure about that, but if this does pass, it will add an interesting wrinkle to the state’s political game. Think of a guy like John Murphy, who is seen as a potentially attractive statewide candidate but who was also priced out of the Republican gubernatorial primary. If we had a lieutenant governor, Doug Forrester might have turned around and tapped him as his running-mate. Win or lose, Murphy would have gained exposure and made invaluable political and fund-raising contacts for the future– the kind of leg-up he can’t otherwise get. The new office could turn outsiders into power-players. And it works for both parties. How many women and minorities are routinely passed over for consequential posts by a predominantly white and male state Democratic leadership? But there’d be huge pressure for a Democratic candidate (assuming he’s a white male) to fill out his ticket with a woman or a minority. I can’t think of one policy area that shows this state is crying out for a lieutenant governor, but hey, what’s the fun of politics if we’re talking policy?

Lt. Gov.