Apparently, former Governor Jim McGreevey didn’t get F. Scott Fitzgerald’s memo that “there are no second acts in American lives.”
In a television interview on Sunday, McGreevey not only declined to rule out a run for mayor of Jersey City in 2025 but sounded as if he had begun honing his pitch to voters.
“As I make this decision, I look at where are there opportunities perhaps in Jersey City in terms of balancing those more affluent neighborhoods and the working class neighborhoods…making sure that there’s access to services…whether it’s creating new opportunities particularly in schools…for people to access recognized credentials and apprenticeship training.”
McGreevey said he would want to address quality of life issues, including traffic and lighting, as well as infrastructure.
McGreevey was interviewed by CBS News New York correspondent Marcia Kramer.
McGreevey served as mayor of Woodbridge Township from 1991 to 2002 and was elected the 52nd governor in 2002, defeating former Jersey City mayor Brett Schundler.
In 2004, McGreevey resigned in disgrace when he was forced to admit that he had hired a man with whom he was having an extra-marital affair for a security post for which the man was unqualified. McGreevey’s resignation speech in which he announced “my truth is that I am a gay American” made international headlines at a time when few American politicians would admit to being gay.
McGreevey went on to obtain a master of divinity degree and devoted himself to helping ex-convicts transition to life after prison. In July 2013, his then ally, Steven Fulop, appointed him head of Jersey City’s Employment and Training Program.
In 2019, Fulop fired McGreevey, accusing McGreevey of financial improprieties. For his part McGreevey claimed he was fired for terminating Fulop ally Eugene McKnight. Sudhan Thomas, another Fulop ally, who Fulop appointed to replace McGreevey, was subsequently indicted by federal authorities for embezzling money from the program. Thomas was also indicted by state authorities on bribery charges related to his position as Jersey City Board of Education president.
McGreevey demurred when asked to assess Fulop’s record. Fulop has announced that he will run for governor in 2025.
City Council President Joyce Watterman, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, County Commissioner Bill O’Dea and former Board of Education President Mussab Ali have all been mentioned as possible candidates for mayor as well.
McGreevey, who was born in Jersey City but grew up in Carteret, called the opportunity to run and return to his family roots in the city “tempting.”
State Senator Brian Stack is, he said, “strongly encouraging” him. McGreevey currently serves as Chairman and Executive Director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation.
Becoming mayor, he said, might be his “last final act.” “There’s a lot of family history and roots and it’s almost coming home… this circle of life and so I can prepare myself to be buried on Westside Avenue.”
Updated 6.21.23 at 6:11 p.m.