Jon Corzine

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Former Governor of New Jersey
Jon Corzine (D)

2006  — 2010
Preceded by: Richard Codey

Jon Stevens Corzine (born January 1, 1947) was the Governor of New Jersey until January 2010. On November 3, 2009, he was defeated for a second term in office by Chris Christie.

Corzine was sworn into office on January 17, 2006, for a four-year term ending in 2010. He represented New Jersey in the United States Senate from 2001 until 2006, when he stepped down to take his seat as Governor of New Jersey. Prior to his political career, Corzine was Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. In March 2010, after losing his re-election bid for governor, Corzine was named chairman and CEO of MF Global Inc. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2011, and Corzine resigned on November 4, 2011.[1] He resides in Hoboken.

Early years and education

Corzine was born in central Illinois to Nancy June Hedrick and Roy Allen Corzine; his surname originates from The Netherlands. "Taylorville is the sort of town where one faced an early choice between staying or leaving, and Corzine is a dramatic example of the latter. His links to the place have only dwindled further in recent years with the deaths of a close friend and his last local relative, as well as his 2003 divorce from his wife, Joanne, whom he dated at Taylorville High School." he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his undergraduate degree, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and graduated in 1969, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors. While in college, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and he served until 1975, rising to the rank of sergeant. In 1970 he enrolled in the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, from which he received a Master of Business Administration degree in 1973, launching him into his business career.

Marriage and divorce

He married his high school sweetheart, Joanne Dougherty, and their 33-year marriage produced three children: Jennifer, Josh, and Jeffrey. The couple separated in 2002 and were divorced in November 2003. In November of 2005, Corzine's ex-wife told The New York Times that Corzine "let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too." This quote was co-opted by gubernatorial opponent Doug Forrester for use in a campaign advertisement.[2][3] Forrester later came under fire for using the quote because of its inherently personal nature.

Business career

His first experience in business was in the Bond Department at Continental-Illinois National Bank in Chicago. He then moved to BancOhio National Bank, a regional bank in Columbus, Ohio that was acquired by National City Bank. He worked there until 1975 when he moved his family to New Jersey. There he was hired as a bond trader for Goldman Sachs. Over the years, he worked his way up to Chairman and CEO of the company in 1994 and successfully converted the investment firm from a private partnership to a worldwide publicly traded corporation. He received numerous awards and recognition for his job including being named one of Time magazine's Top 50 Technology Executives in 1997.

Entry into politics

After being forced from Goldman Sachs in January 1999, Corzine campaigned for one of New Jersey's Senate seats after Frank Lautenberg announced his retirement. Corzine was elected to the Senate by a four percent margin over his Republican opponent Bob Franks in the November 2000 election and was sworn into the Senate in January 2001. He spent $62,802,999 of his own money on his campaign, the most expensive Senate campaign in U.S. history — over $35 million of this was spent on the primary election alone, where he ran against former Governor James Florio.

Senate career

In the Senate, Corzine was a member of the Committees on Banking, Intelligence, the Budget, and Energy and Natural Resources. He co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a piece of legislation designed to crack down on corporate malfeasance. He was a supporter of introducing legislation that reforms the 401(k) plan to minimize the risk of investment portfolios. He was a sponsor of the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Act, which expands health care coverage for children and pregnant women. Corzine supported providing a two-year tax break to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to help them recover financially and help grant citizenship to victims that were legal resident aliens. He supported tighter gun control laws, outlawing racial profiling, and subsidies for Amtrak. He was also the chief sponsor, along with U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, of the Darfur Accountability Act, which would apply sanctions on the Sudanese government and create a framework for addressing the genocide occurring in the Darfur region. He was also one of 23 senators to vote against the Iraq War Resolution.

Since May 2005 he has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Campaign for governor

Corzine's candidacy for Governor, like his prior run for the U.S. Senate, broke all prior spending records. The combined expenditures for Corzine's run for the Senate and Governorship exceeded $100 million.

Corzine won his campaign for the post of Governor of New Jersey with 54% of the vote. Republican nominee Doug Forrester, a businessman and a former Mayor of West Windsor Township, in Mercer County, won 43%. Corzine received 1,224,493 votes to Forrester's 985,235. A total of 80,277 votes, or 3%, were scattered among other candidates.

Corzine won 13 of New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Salem, and Union. Corzine won the three most populous counties (Bergen, Essex, and Middlesex), five of the top six, and seven of the top nine. As Governor, he is a member of the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association.


Because he is a multi-millionaire, Corzine accepted a token salary of $1 per year as Governor of New Jersey,[4] although he later chose to forgo pay. State law allows for a maximum salary of $175,000.[5]

Shutdown of state government

Corzine, in attempting to pass the 2007 fiscal year budget, came into conflict with fellow state Democrats in the New Jersey General Assembly, particularly over the proposed increase of the state's sales tax from 6% to 7%. Corzine stated that he would not accept a budget that did not include the sales tax increase. After the legislature failed to pass Governor Corzine's budget by the midnight deadline of July 1, 2006, he signed an executive order[6] that immediately closed down all non-essential state government services, such as road construction projects. Legislators failed to resolve the situation by July 4 and casinos, among other governmentally-regulated industries, closed their doors at 8:00 am on July 5.[7] Governor Corzine called the shutdown "deplorable," though he refused to negotiate with legislators and accept alternate plans that did not increase the sales tax. It is estimated that the state lost several millions of dollars of revenue every day the casinos remained closed. Some surmised the casino closure was an effort to encourage reluctant South Jersey legislators to break the impasse.[8]

After six days of the New Jersey state government being shut down Corzine and Assembly Democrats reached an agreement on the state budget. The compromise raised the state sales tax from 6% to 7% with half of the 1% increase going to the state budget and the other half going to property tax relief. On July 8, 2006, the $30 billion dollar state budget, with the sales tax agreement, passed both houses and Governor Corzine signed the budget into law ending the budget impasse.[9][10]


U.S. Senate replacement

Corzine continued to serve in the U.S. Senate while running for Governor, which ensured that he could resign from the Senate and appoint a successor if he won, and allow him to retain his Senate seat if he lost.

Initial speculation was that he would appoint a Democrat from one of the congressional districts in New Jersey, such as Congressmen Rob Andrews, Rush Holt, or Frank Pallone. Governor Richard Codey had also been touted, though on November 23 2005, he announced that he was not interested in pursuing the seat. On December 9, 2005, Corzine named U.S. Rep. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, to succeed him.[11]

Nomination of State Attorney General

One of Corzine's first nominations was that of Zulima Farber as New Jersey Attorney General. Farber had been nominated to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court by disgraced former Governor James E. McGreevey (who resigned in August 2004 in a corruption scandal), but McGreevey withdrew the nomination after learning that Farber had bench warrants issued for her arrest due to numerous motor vehicle infractions.[12] Despite criticism, Corzine re-nominated her. Farber served as Attorney General for approximately seven months before being forced to resign in August 2006 after an ethics investigation. A judge concluded that Attorney General Farber had improperly interfered after Fairview, New Jersey, police stopped her boyfriend for a motor vehicle violation. The police arrested Farber's boyfriend and impounded his vehicle when it was learned the vehicle was unregistered and that his New Jersey driver's license had been administratively suspended.[13]


On February 9, 2006, after many scandals regarding financial mishandling had emerged at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Corzine nominated Robert Del Tufo, the former Attorney General of New Jersey and U.S. Attorney, as chairman of the board of trustees. Corzine also nominated Oliver Quinn, Prudential Financial's vice president and chief ethics officer, as vice chairman of the board.[14]

Polling data and approval

After taking office in January of 2006, Corzine's approval numbers were low for a new governor. Many polls seemed to indicate that much of this negative polling was a direct result of the 2006 New Jersey State Government shutdown. An April 26, 2006, poll from Quinnipiac University Polling Institute showed Corzine at a 35% approval with a 42% disapproval.[15] A February 28, 2007, poll from Quinnipiac University Polling Institute showed Corzine at 50% approval with 34% disapproval.[16]

Motorcade accident

On 12 April 2007, the Governor's two-car motorcade was involved in an accident on the Garden State Parkway near Galloway Township. Corzine, a state trooper, and an aide were all injured in the accident. The Governor, who was riding in the front passenger seat, was not wearing a seat belt.[17] Subsequent investigation by the New Jersey State Police determined that the SUV was traveling in excess of 90 MPH (147 km/h) in a 65 MPH (105 km/h) zone when the collision occurred.[18] Corzine and the state trooper were flown by helicopter to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, a Level I trauma center, while the Governor's aide was taken by ambulance to the Atlantic City Medical Center. Neither the state trooper nor the Governor's aide were found to be seriously injured. However, Corzine suffered numerous broken bones, including an open fracture of the left femur, 11 broken ribs, a broken sternum, a broken collarbone, and a fractured lower vertebra. He also received a large cut on his face which required repair by a plastic surgeon. Governor Corzine was traveling to his official residence in Princeton to meet with radio personality Don Imus and the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team when the accident occurred.[19]

On April 23, 2007, Corzine was upgraded from critical to stable condition at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey.[20] Corzine had been unable to speak due to the presence of a breathing tube in his throat and remained under heavy sedation (in addition to being on antibiotics to prevent potential infection of the wound on his leg). Due to Corzine's inability to perform his duties as Governor, in accordance with the New Jersey State Constitution, New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey assumed the Acting Governorship from April 12 until May 7, 2007. An amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to create a Lieutenant Governor position — who would become the governor's designated successor in the event of a vacancy — was approved by the voters in 2005, but that position will not be filled until 2010.[21]

The accident occurred when the Governor's SUV was driving at 91 MPH on the leftmost lane of the highway with its emergency lights flashing. A red pickup truck swerved and another vehicle swerved to avoid the pickup truck and hit the car containing the Governor. Corzine's vehicle spun and hit the guardrail on the highway. There is some suggestion that the red pickup truck was attempting to avoid the Governor's SUV when it suddenly changed direction. The New Jersey State Police reviewed roadside camera recordings and E-ZPass records to track down the driver of the red pickup truck. The driver was identified, but was not charged with any violation for his involvement in the accident.[22] A New York Times interactive graphic based on NJ State Trooper reports shows Corzine's vehicle being struck in the right front corner, sliding off the road, and striking a guardrail.[23]

Corzine's chief of staff Tom Shea said he did not believe the governor had been wearing his seat belt. Friends of the governor have long said that they have rarely seen him wear one.[24] "If he was not, he certainly should have been," Shea said, "and we would encourage the state police to issue a citation." When asked why the state trooper who was driving would not have asked Corzine to put on his seat belt, Shea said the governor was "not always amenable to suggestion."[25] The Superintendent of State Police has also noted that the trooper could be charged in connection with the accident if it is determined that the crash was preventable.

Corzine was released from the hospital on April 30, 2007.[26] He recuperated at the Governor's Mansion in Princeton, which was modified (at Corzine's own expense) to include both equipment that Corzine will need as part of his recovery as well as a videoconferencing center to allow him to communicate with New Jersey legislators.[27] Shortly after his release from the hospital, it was reported that the Governor's motorcade, while traveling on Interstate 295 enroute to Drumthwacket, was clocked at a speed of 70 MPH while in a 55 MPH zone.[28]

Corzine issued a public apology and voluntarily paid a $46 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.[29]. Corzine shot a public service announcement, opening with the blunt statement "I’m New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead."[30]

State Cabinet

  • Bradley Abelow, State Treasurer.[31]
  • Virginia Bauer, Secretary of Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism.[32]
  • Donald Bryan, Acting Commissioner of Banking and Insurance (until February 2006).[32]
  • Ronald Chen, Public Advocate.[33]
  • Lucille Davy, Acting New Jersey Commissioner of Education.[34]
  • Jeanne Fox, President of the Board of Public Utilities.[32]
  • Col. Joseph Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.[32]
  • Steven M. Goldman, Commissioner of Banking and Insurance (from February 2006)
  • Sharon A. Harrington, Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
  • George Hayman, Acting Commissioner of Corrections]].[34]
  • Lisa P. Jackson, Commissioner of Environmental Protection.[33]
  • Dr. Fred Jacobs, Commissioner of Health and Senior Services.[35]
  • Kris Kolluri, Commissioner of Transportation (from February 2006)
  • Charles Kuperus, Secretary of Agriculture
  • John Lettierre, Commissioner of Transportation (until February 2006).[32]
  • Susan Bass Levin, Commissioner of Community Affairs (until July 2007).[36]
  • Anne Milgram, Attorney General of New Jersey (confirmed June 2007).[37]
  • Stuart Rabner, Attorney General (until June 2007).[38]
  • Major General Glenn K. Rieth, Adjutant General.[39]
  • Gary Rose, Director of the Office of Economic Growth
  • Rick R. Rosenberg Jr., Secretary of Education
  • Kevin Ryan, Commissioner of Children and Families.[35]
  • Thomas Shea, Chief of Staff to the Governor
  • David Socolow, Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.[32]
  • Rolando Torres, Commissioner of Personnel
  • Jennifer Velez, Acting Commissioner of Human Services
  • Nina Mitchell Wells, Secretary of State.[39]
  • Ken Zimmerman, Chief Counsel to the Governor


  1. Schaefer, Steve. "New York Fed Severs Tie With Bankrupt MF Global, Down To 21 Primary Dealers", Forbes. 
  2. Collins, Gail "Private lives in public", International Herald Tribune, November 17, 2005," accessed April 14, 2007. "This year's prime exhibit was New Jersey, where Senator Jon Corzine scored a decisive win against his Republican opponent in the governor's race, Douglas Forrester, despite a last-minute barrage of attack ads in which Corzine's ex-wife was quoted as declaring that unlike Forrester, 'Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too.'"
  3. Slutsky, Carolyn and Zanoni, Carla. "Corzine Wins New Jersey Governorship After Long, Ugly Campaign", The Columbia Journalist, November 7, 2005," accessed April 14, 2007. "Last Wednesday, in a statement to The New York Times, Mrs. Corzine said, “When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, ‘Doug never let his family down and he won’t let New Jersey down,’ all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he’ll probably let New Jersey down, too.” Forrester had first vowed not to use the remarks against Corzine, but by the next day his camp had released a somber television ad with white words set against a black screen, quoting her verbatim."
  4. The Goldman Sachs Crew That’s Helping Run Trenton Government, The New York Times, October 4, 2006.
  5. frequently asked questions (faqs) — Governor, accessed October 5, 2006.
  6. Governor Corzine Signs Executive Order for Orderly Shutdown of Government Operations (dead link), press release dated July 1, 2006.
  7. Atlantic City casinos forced to close: Budget standoff in N.J. halts gambling; parks and beaches affected, MarketWatch, July 5, 2006.
  9. Corzine, Lawmakers Agree to End Budget Impasse, Raise Sales Tax, Bloomberg L.P., July 6, 2006.
  10. Governor Signs $30B New Jersey Budget (dead link),, July 8, 2006.
  11. Sources: Menendez tapped for U.S. Senate seat,, December 7,2005.
  12. Aaron, Lawrence. " Give credit to Corzine for early choices", The Record (Bergen County), January 18, 2006," accessed April 29, 2007. "Former Gov. James McGreevey hastily withdrew her nomination to the state Supreme Court after revelations of unpaid traffic fines."
  13. Salazar, Carolyn, et. al. " Stung by ethics report, Farber is out" (dead link), The Record (Bergen County), August 16, 2006," accessed April 29, 2007.
  14. May-16-06 Governor Names New UMDNJ Board Members (dead link), press release dated May 16, 2006," accessed April 29, 2007. "These are Governor Corzine’s fourth and fifth nominations to the UMDNJ Board of Trustees; he previously nominated Robert Del Tufo, Oliver Quinn and Harold Shapiro to the Board, and designated Del Tufo to serve as Chairman."
  15. NJ Budget Problems End Corzine's Honeymoon, Quinnipiac University New Jersey Poll Finds; Raise State Taxes, Not Local Taxes, Voters Say 3-1 (dead link), press release dated April 26, 2006.
  16. February 28, 2007 - New Jersey Governor's Approval Inches Up To New High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Concern For Property Tax Also At New High, Quinnipiac University, released February 28, 2007," accessed April 14, 2007.
  17. Corzine 'not wearing seatbelt' in crash (dead link), MSNBC, 14 April 2007.
  18. Police: Corzine's SUV Was Going Roughly 91 MPH Before Crash, FOX News, 17 April 2007.
  19. NJ Gov. Corzine involved in serious auto accident, 12 April 2007.
  20. Corzine upgraded to stable condition; moved out of ICU, Courier News, April 23, 2007.
  21. Cooper, Michael. "Crash Adds Uncertainty to New Jersey Politics", The New York Times, April 15, 2007," accessed April 19, 2007. "New Jersey voters agreed in 2005 to create the position of a lieutenant governor who would serve if a governor stepped down or could not serve, but the position will not be created until 2009."
  22. Gohlke, Josh; Nussbaum, Alex; and Young, Elise. "Driver not charged in Corzine crash" (dead link), The Record (Bergen County), 14 April 2007. Accessed April 16, 2007. "The driver of the red Ford pickup — located Friday night after an intensive 24-hour search — was not issued any summonses.... State police investigators located Potts at 8 p.m. Friday, using information from the Little Egg Harbor Township police, E-ZPass data and footage from tollbooth traffic cameras."
  23. Events Leading to the Accident, The New York Times, April 13, 2007. Adobe Flash interactive graphic.
  24. Corzine Facing Severe Hurdles in Intensive Care, New York Times, 14 April 2007.
  25. Aides: Corzine Not Wearing Seat Belt, WPVI, 13 April 2007.
  26. "Tearful Corzine released from hospital, asks N.J. to forgive behavior" (dead link), Press of Atlantic City, April 30, 2007.
  27. Chen, David W. "Corzine to Make Early Exit From Hospital Monday", The New York Times, April 30, 2007.
  28. Greene, Leonard. "'Speedy' Recovery: Corzine Van Does 70 MPH Going Home" (dead link), New York Post, May 1, 2007. Accessed May 1, 2007. "Motorists in vehicles traveling behind the governor's six-car caravan on Interstate 295 clocked Corzine at 70 mph."
  29. Moroz, Jennifer "Corzine asks for seat-belt fine, gets it", The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 2, 2007. Accessed May 3, 2007.
  30. "New Jersey governor’s seat belt warning: ’I should be dead’", Boston Herald, May 24, 2007. Accessed May 29, 2007. "I’m New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead. So begins Corzine’s public service announcement promoting seat belt use, which was released Thursday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend."
  31. CORZINE NOMINATES BRADLEY ABELOW AS STATE TREASURER: Names Assistant Commissioner Hayman and Acting Commissioner Davy to Serve in the Interim (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 13, 2006. Accessed May 29, 2007.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Corzine Names McElwain Acting Director of Office of Counter-Terrorism (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 18, 2006. Accessed May 29, 2007.
  33. 33.0 33.1 CORZINE NAMES PUBLIC ADVOCATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMISSIONER, Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 5, 2006.
  34. 34.0 34.1 CORZINE ANNOUNCES STATE AND NATIONWIDE SEARCH FOR CORRECTIONS AND EDUCATION COMMISSIONERS: Names Assistant Commissioner Hayman and Acting Commissioner Davy to Serve in the Interim (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 10, 2006. Accessed June 3, 2007.
  35. 35.0 35.1 CORZINE NAMES HUMAN SERVICES AND HEALTH AND SENIOR SERVICES COMMISSIONERS: Taps Kevin Ryan and Fred Jacobs to Serve (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 9, 2006. Accessed June 3, 2007.
  36. Farber and Bass Levin Sworn In as Attorney General and Community Affairs Commissioner (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 30, 2006.
  37. Corzine Nominates New Chief Justice and Attorney General (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated June 4, 2007. Accessed June 23, 2007.
  38. Corzine Nominates Stuart Rabner to Serve as Attorney General (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated August 24, 2006.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Corzine Names Secretary of State and Military and Veterans Affairs Adjutant General (dead link), Governor of New Jersey press release dated January 3, 2006.


External links