The Governor Speaks

The Man-Who-Isn’t-Running-But-Who-Everyone-Wishes-Had isn’t doing much politicking today. Richard J. Codey and his wife, Mary Jo, cast their ballots this morning in West Orange. Then he went off to meet with New York Jets officials to hash out plans for the team’s new Jersey-based training camp. Codey’s 14-month run as acting governor will end in January and polls show he’s the most popular politician in the state, with personal favorable ratings that are off the charts. Of course, part of that is a consequence of his decision not to run for a full term, but if he had, many believe he’d be coasting past Doug Forrester right now. So how’s he feeing today? “A touch sad, but that’s all,” the governor said by phone. He doesn’t regret his decision not to run, especially in light of the rumors about Forrester’s and Jon Corzine’s personal lives that have been leaked to the press the last few weeks. “Obviously, it would have been a different situation with me, but I wouldn’t want to drag my family through that stuff…And I know both Jon and Doug get up every morning with spasms in their colons, afraid about what might happen next.” Codey’s planning to be in East Brunswick for what he believes will be a Corzine victory party tonight. But he’s not sure what the final margin will look like. “It all depends on whether Forrester made a mistake with that ad,” he said,referring to the Forrester ad featuring a quote from Corzine’s ex-wife. “My tendency is to think there was a different quote they could have used. I thought the one they went with was a little too personal. But I guess (Arthur) Finkelstein gets paid to figure that out, not me.” Of course, what everyone wants to know is if the most popular politician in the state would be interested in replacing Corzine in the Senate. “Ego-wise, there’s nothing left for me,” Codey said. He added: “My inclination at this point is to say no. Right now, you’d have to talk me into it.” But if Corzine does win, Codey expects he’ll be hearing from all sorts of national Democratic leaders asking him to run starting tomorrow. “I’m going to be honest with them and say, ‘Listen, you’re going to have to show me that this is something my wife and family are going to be happy with.'”

The Governor Speaks