The curse of the New Jersey Legislature

The New Jersey Legislature is often the breeding ground for gubernatorial candidates, but by 2009 it will have been 81

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 New Jersey Legislature