Oddball NJ governors: The strangest of the strange
As New Jersey residents head to the polls, Congressional races top the ballot in New Jersey this year.
We won’t elect a new Garden State governor until 2025, but it’s worth a look back at some of the history of the office.
The closest race for governor was in 1981. Tom Kean beat Jim Florio by just 1,677 votes. The race wasn’t officially called until nearly a month after the election.
Florio ultimately won in 1990, but was a one-term governor due to his $2.8 billion dollar tax hike.
Jon Corzine was another one-termer, also largely due to his tax policies.
Corzine famously said, “Pigs will fly over the Statehouse before there is a realistic level of new taxes or spending cuts that can fix this (budget) mess.”
That triggered a massive rally where New Jersey 101.5 listeners released hundreds of flying pig balloons over the Statehouse.
Chris Christie had his share of moments as New Jersey governor. His order to “get the hell off the beach” as Hurricane Irene approached in 2011 drew national attention.
Telling a Democratic critic to “sit down and shut up” was another classic moment.
Many remember the “Bridgegate scandal” that essentially destroyed his political career or the endless memes of Christie on the beach when the beaches were closed due to a state government shutdown in 2017.
None of these governors made this list, however.
Phil Murphy is the 56th governor of New Jersey. Of the 55 men and women who have held the office previously, this list features a handful who stand out with some truly oddball stories and strange behavior throughout Garden State history.
- From urging New Jersey to side with England during the War of Independence, to advocating the Garden State join the South in support of slavery.
- Corruption in New Jersey politics can be traced back to the state’s 26th governor.
- A disgraced Civil War General didn’t want to run, but Democrats nominated him anyway.
- We elected a governor in 1851 who showed up for work in Trenton, and no one noticed.
- New Jersey even had a governor who offered a stunning deathbed confession.
Keep scrolling to learn more about New Jersey’s truly oddball governors.
Did we leave anyone off the list that you think should be on it?
Let us know.