Follow Us:


  • Article
  • Comments

Poll: Does New Jersey Really Need a Lieutenant Governor?

Ten years after the job was created, is it time to take another look at the position held by Christie’s second-in-command?

It’s been 10 years since New Jersey voters changed the state constitution to create the position of lieutenant governor. Lawmakers at the time said they wanted a clear line of gubernatorial succession in the executive branch for when a governor resigns, is ill, or is temporarily out-of-state.

Before 2005, the Senate president -- who had no statewide mandate -- would assume the role of governor, sometimes leading the state Senate and the administration. That’s what happened after Govs. Christine Todd Whitman and Jim McGreevey resigned and state Sens. Donald DiFrancesco and Richard Codey assumed the governorship.

So how do you think things have worked out thus far?

  • The new gubernatorial succession is working exactly as it was designed. When Christie is away, Guadagno has been the acting governor. That resolves the separation-of-powers concerns that lawmakers had under the old succession process. She’s also used the added responsibility to boost her own profile, delivering on another goal of the original proposal, which was to provide more leadership opportunities to women and minorities in state government.

  • Creating the position of lieutenant governor was a good idea, but we could make it better. The governor and lieutenant governor shouldn’t run as a slate, but as individual candidates. Having the lieutenant governor beholden to the governor has led to the situation we have now: It’s just a ceremonial post, as everyone waits for the governor to return. One more thing: Lawmakers need to advance legislation to prevent Christie and future governors from sticking New Jersey taxpayers with the bill for security and other expenses when out-of-state trips have a purely political purpose.

  • It’s just too early to say at this point. We’ve only had one administration come into power under the new gubernatorial-succession rules. The next governor and lieutenant governor could decide to manage things in an entirely different way. Let’s see this play out a little more before making a decision.

  • This has been a big mistake. Having a lieutenant governor has allowed Christie to be out of the state more than he’s in, chasing his own personal political goals. Lt. Gov. Guadagno serves as the state’s de facto governor without much power. Christie hasn’t loosened the reins and let her actually run the show, so she’s signed only a few bills into law. We have lots of problems facing us in this state, like the broken Transportation Trust Fund. But they can’t be addressed without an actual governor at work.

  • It’s time to undo the 2005 constitutional amendment. The original sponsors of the ballot question were well-intentioned, but there was nothing wrong with having the Senate president also serve as acting governor when necessary. That setup also served as a strong check to ensure governors remain engaged in New Jersey since the Senate president had the power to enact laws and make other changes against a governor’s wishes during out-of-state trips.

Read more in Polling
Corporate Supporters
Most Popular Stories