When NJ Governor Jon Corzine was critically injured in a car accident two weeks ago, a commenter wrote, "Obviously, God wants Codey to be governor," referring to Richard Codey, the NJ Senate majority leader (pictured) who has served as acting governor under the three past NJ governors. And, apparently, so does Corzine himself: The NY Times has an article about how Corzine was often not in NJ before being injured.:
In the 450 days between his inauguration and his accident, Mr. Corzine notified Mr. Codey that he would be away for all or part of 111 days, and would sleep out of state on 77 nights...
And many of Mr. Corzine’s overnight visits to Manhattan, where his companion, Sharon Elghanayan, lives, are not included in the tally, because of a memo in April 2006 from Zulima V. Farber, who was then the attorney general.
“We do not believe that, in the circumstances you describe, an occasional, overnight stay in New York City following a workday in New Jersey and a return to this state in the morning constitutes an absence of the governor that would trigger the devolution of gubernatorial power,” Ms. Farber wrote in response to an inquiry from Mr. Corzine’s legal counsel.
Interesting! Imagine seeing Corzine reverse commuting on weekday mornings.
There are a few schools of thought: Some criticize the fact that Corzine is too often away from his state, while others, including former Governor Christie Todd Whitman, say it's good for the governor to promote NJ on a national level and to get some perspective. Of course, a couple of Corzine's trips have been to Telluride (after the budget meltdown) and the Hamptons (Easter weekend), so we're not sure how much Garden State boosterism is going on.
At any rate, Corzine won't be able to travel too much any time soon - he'll have many months of rehab at the Governor's mansion ahead of him. And lately, certain rich politicians have the means to travel away, including Mayor Michael "I won't tell the press my whereabouts on the weekend" Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Photograph of Richard Codey after visiting Corzine in the hospital by Colin Archer/AP