It wasn't exactly a stop the presses kind of moment when Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein told the South Brunswick Post: "I don't automatically come out one way or another." Usually, Greenstein waits to see how her Republican colleague, Bill Baroni, votes before she makes a final decision. But her refusal to take a position on the death penalty — seemingly the kind of issue politicians have thought about over the years — has some progressive Democrats scratching their heads.
The local newspaper asked the six major party candidates for the Legislature in the 1th district about legislation to abolish the death penalty. Baroni and the GOP Assembly candidates, Thomas Goodwin and Adam Bushman, and Democratic Assembly candidate Wayne D'Angelo said they would support the death penalty under certain circumstances, while Democratic Senate candidate Seema Singh said she supports the Senate bill to abolish capital punishment.
But Greenstein, who chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee — the panel that might consider the legislation if it clears the Senate — refused to take a position, although she said she generally opposes the death penalty. She told the local newspaper that she has mixed feelings about the issue and wants to study an expert panel report first, and said that she doesn't perceive strong public support for executions.
Greenstein ran into a problem with some Democrats earlier this year when she abstained on an Assembly Resolution opposing the Bush Adminstration's plan on Iraq. Refusing to take positions on core issues like Iraq and the death penalty won't help her gain enthusiasm among Democratic base voters for her re-election campaign.