The legacy of Robert Crane

One minor legal ruling from state Attorney General Zulima Farber, first made public a in June by the Star-Ledger’s Auditor column, was that the gubernatorial line of succession need not be activated just because the Governor spends the “ocassional” night out of state. New Jersey tradition, based on the legal view of another Attorney General a long time ago, had dicated that the moment the Governor touched the soil of another state, the Acting Governor would take over. Farber’s ruling, if applied retroactively, could threaten the legacy of the late Robert Crane, who served as Acting Governor of New Jersey more than forty years ago. Crane was a rising star in state politics: the Editor and Publisher of the Elizabeth Daily Journal and a former President of the New Jersey Press Association, Crane was 36-years-old when he won a State Senate seat in a 1956 special election. Crane was prominently mentioned a future gubernatorial candidate. But in 1961, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When the Senate met to reorganize on January 9, 1962, Crane was elected Senate President. Governor Robert Meyner drove across the bridge to Pennsylvania for lunch so that Crane could be sworn in as the Acting Governor — completing the honor and allowing Crane to have a permanent asterik in the Fitzgerald’s Legislative Manual explaining his place in history. He resigned as Senate President an hour later, and died in office three months later.

The legacy of Robert Crane