Stack, others want McGreevey to run for mayor of Jersey City
Several friends and supporters of former Governor James E. McGreevey, including Brian P. Stack, are urging him to run for mayor of Jersey City in 2025, creating a possible opportunity for the indomitable activist to resurrect a political career that ended almost nineteen years. with his resignation as governor, the New Jersey Globe confirmed.
McGreevey, 65, is being recruited to succeed Mayor Steven Fulop, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election to a fourth term and is now an announced candidate for the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination .
If he runs, McGreevey will enter the race to lead the state’s second-largest city with the enthusiastic support of Stack, the mayor of Union City and chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee. The political powerhouse of North Hudson recently organized the election of former Rep. Albio Sires as the new mayor of West New York and has spent the past twelve years representing part of Jersey City in the state Senate.
“There would be no better mayor for the people of Jersey City than Jim McGreevey,” Stack told the New Jersey Globe. “I look forward to being part of his campaign for mayor and dedicating any resources or assistance that I can provide. I’m really excited.”
Stack stressed that he was ready to help McGreevey build a local campaign organization.
“I will be there day and night for him to be elected if Governor McGreevey decides to run,” Stack said.
McGreveey declined to comment for this story.
Potential candidates to run in Jersey City’s nonpartisan municipal elections in November 2025 include Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea, City Council Speaker Joyce Watterman, Downtown Councilman James Solomon, Councilman Ward F Frank E. Gilmore and Rep. Robert J. Menendez (D-Jersey City).
Elected governor in 2001, McGreevey resigned in August 2004 after a lawsuit that threatened to reveal an extramarital affair with another man. He announced he was gay, admitted his relationship, apologized to that then-wife and the people of New Jersey, and left office in November.
Since leaving office, McGreevey has actively sought a path to personal and public redemption. He earned a degree in theology, worked at another treatment center at Hudson County Correctional Center, and wrote a memoir, Confession. He now runs the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, a hugely successful nonprofit that advocates for the removal of barriers for men and women returning from jail or prison. His work with the non-profit organization has earned him wide recognition from top political leaders in both parties.
While McGreevey’s political base was Middlesex County, the former governor has strong roots in Hudson County. He was born in Jersey City, where his grandfather was a policeman, and returned about ten years ago.
Once a close ally of Fulop, the two parted ways after Fulop fired him as head of Jersey City’s employment and training program in 2019.
A former assistant district attorney and executive director of the New Jersey Parole Board, McGreevey was elected to the state Assembly in 1989 and then won a fiercely competitive race for mayor of Woodbridge, the seventh-largest municipality in the New Jersey, in 1991. In 1993, McGreevey ousted State Senator Randy Corman (D-Sayreville) by nearly three percentage points to overthrow the 19th District Senate seat.
In 1997, McGreevey came within 25,426 votes (57%-46%) of ousting a popular Republican governor, Christine Todd Whitman. Four years later, he was elected governor by fifteen percentage points over Republican Bret Schundler, the mayor of Jersey City; aided by his tailcoats, the Democrat regained control of the State Assembly.
As governor, McGreevey faced several controversies, in particular the hiring of an Israeli citizen, Golan Cipel, as a homeland security adviser despite his lack of qualifications. McGreevey later admitted he was having an affair with Gopal. Nineteen years later, some political observers wonder if the issue necessitated his departure from power.
In running for mayor, McGreevey is following the example of Jerry Brown, who served two terms as governor of California and then returned to power sixteen years later by winning the election as mayor of Oakland.
If he wins, McGreevey will become New Jersey’s first elected former governor to return to public office since William Newell ran for Congress four years after leaving the governor’s office. He lost re-election two years later and was subsequently defeated twice. Later, Newell moved to Washington State when President Rutherford Hayes appointed him governor of the territory; he remained there and was later elected mayor of Olympia, Washington.
Four other former governors have lost bids to return: Edward Stokes in a Republican U.S. Senate primary, Harold Hoffman in a GOP gubernatorial primary, Robert Meyner in a general election for governor, and Jim Florio in a Democratic primary from the US Senate.
Another Jersey City politician, A. Harry Moore, served three nonconsecutive terms as governor in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, when New Jersey governors were limited to three-year terms. He was elected to the United States Senate between two of his gubernatorial terms.