Several friends and supporters of former Gov. 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 stalwart campaigner to revive a political career that ended nearly nineteen years so with his resignation as governor, the New Jersey Globe confirmed.
McGreevy, 65, is being recruited to succeed Mayor Steven Fulap, who announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election for a fourth term and is the candidate has now been announced for governor from the Democratic Party in 2025.
If he runs, McGreevey will enter the race to govern the state’s second-largest city with the fervent support of Stack, the mayor of Union City and the chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee. The North Hudson Political Center recently orchestrated the election of former Representative Albio Sayres as the new mayor of Western New York and has represented Jersey City in the state Senate for the past twelve years.
“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 involved in his mayoral campaign and will provide any resources or assistance I can provide. I’m very excited.”
Stack emphasized his willingness to help McGreevey assemble a local campaign organization.
“I will be there day and night to make sure he gets elected if Governor McGreevy decides to run,” Stack said.
McGreevy declined to comment for this story.
Possible candidates for the November 2025 nonpartisan municipal election in Jersey City include Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea, City Council President Joyce Waterman, City Councilwoman James Solomon, Ward F City Councilman Frank E. Gilmore and Representative Robert J. Menendez (D-Jersey City).
Elected governor in 2001, McGreevy resigned in August 2004 following a lawsuit that threatened to expose an extramarital affair with another man. He announced that he was gay, admitted his relationship, apologized to his then-wife and the people of New Jersey, and resigned in November.
After leaving office, McGreevy actively sought personal and public redemption. He earned a degree in divinity, worked at the Hudson County Correctional Facility’s extended treatment facility, and wrote a memoir, Confessions. He currently directs the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, a highly successful non-profit agency that advocates for the removal of barriers for men and women returning from prison or jail. His work at the nonprofit has earned him widespread recognition from top political leaders in both parties.
While McGreevy’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 police officer, and returned about ten years ago.
The two were once close allies of Fulap, but they parted ways after Fulap fired him as head of the Jersey City Jobs and Training Program in 2019.
A former assistant prosecutor and executive director of the New Jersey Parole Board, McGreevy was elected to the State Assembly in 1989 and then won a highly competitive race for mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey’s seventh largest municipality, in 1991. In 1993, McGreevy unseated state Sen. Randy Corman (D-Sayreville) by nearly three percentage points to flip the 19th District Senate seat.
In 1997, McGreevey won by 25,426 votes (57-46%) to unseat popular Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Four years later, he was elected governor by a margin of fifteen percent against Republican Brett Schundler, the mayor of Jersey City; with the help of his coattails, the Democrat regained control of the State Assembly.
As governor, McGreevey faced several controversies, most notably the hiring of Israeli national Galan Sipel as homeland security adviser despite his lack of qualifications. McGreevy later admitted that he had an affair with Sippel. Nineteen years later, some political commentators wonder whether this problem necessitated his resignation.
In running for mayor, McGreevey follows in the footsteps of Jerry Brown, who served two terms as governor of California and then returned to office sixteen years later, winning election as mayor of Oakland.
If he wins, McGreevey will become the first elected former New Jersey governor to return to state office since William Newell ran for Congress four years after leaving the governorship. He lost re-election two years later and was defeated twice after that. Newell later 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 lost bids for re-election: Edward Stokes in the Republican US Senate primary, Harold Hoffman in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Robert Meiner in the gubernatorial general election, and Jim Florio in the Democratic US Senate primary.
Another Jersey City politician, A. Harry Moore, served three nonconsecutive terms as governor in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, when New Jersey’s governors were limited to one three-year term. He was elected to the U.S. Senate between his two gubernatorial terms.