Cryan criticizes choice of Guadagno for secretary of state

Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan today objected to Gov.-elect Chris Christie’s choice of Lt. Gov-elect Kim Guadagno as his secretary of state, which is expected to be announced at a Trenton press conference this afternoon.

Cryan said that the appointment could create a conflict of interest, since Guadagno would serve as the state’s top elections officer while facing the prospect of having her ticket reelected in 2013.

“Lt.-Gov.-elect Kim Guadagno is highly qualified to manage the many varied responsibilities required of the Secretary of State,” said Cryan (D-Union), who is also an assemblyman. “However, as one of the main functions of the Secretary of State is as the chief elections officer in New Jersey, there would be an apparent conflict of interest if a candidate seeking public office, such as the Lt. Gov., were to hold the position. To ensure the fairness and integrity of our elections it is vital that the person in charge of our state’s election process does not have a vested personal interest in the results.”

Last April, Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin, a Democrat, wrote an Op-Ed for that suggested that the new Lt. Governor also serve as the Secretary of State. "We should, at the very least, transfer the functions of the Secretary of State to the newly-elected lieutenant governor," Durkin wrote.

A spokeswoman for Christie could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cryan criticizes choice of Guadagno for secretary of state