The curse of the legislature

The New Jersey Legislature is often the breeding ground for gubernatorial candidates, but by 2009 it will have been 81 years since a sitting state legislator has been elected Governor — the last time was in 1928, when Morgan Larson, a Republican State Senator from Middlesex County, won.

Over the last fifty years, only four incumbent legislators — State Senators Malcom Forbes (1957), Wayne Dumont (1965), Raymond Bateman (1977) and James E. McGreevey (1997) — have won gubernatorial primaries, and all four have lost their general elections.

More often, incumbent legislators to lose gubernatorial primaries: Paul DiGaetano, who won just 5.5% in 2005, Alan Karcher in 1989, Chuck Hardwick, Bill Gormley and Gerald Cardinale in 1989; John Russo in 1985, Frank Dodd, William Hamilton, Joseph Merlino, Barry Parker, James Wallwork and Anthony Imperiale in 1981; Thomas Kean and Raymond Garramone in 1977; Ralph DeRose and Ann Klein in 1973; Harry Sears, Frank McDermott and William Kelly in 1969; Charles Sandman in 1965, and Walter Jones in 1961. Still, seven of the last eleven Governors had served in the Legislature. The curse of the legislature