Former Gov. Jim McGreevey Expresses ‘Mixed Feelings’ About Life in the Public Eye as He Weighs Political Return

McGreevey tells New Jersey Monthly he will make a decision by Thanksgiving about running for mayor of Jersey City.

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey with two smiling supporters
Nearly two decades after McGreevey resigned from office, he's mulling a run for mayor of Jersey City. Photo: Courtesy of James McGreevey

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who resigned from office nearly 20 years ago, is contemplating a political comeback after nine Hudson County mayors have urged him to run for mayor of Jersey City.

In an interview with New Jersey Monthly on Thursday afternoon, McGreevey said he will make a decision by Thanksgiving about whether or not to run.

“I want to make sure that it’s the right decision for my family, for my daughters, for my organization, and for me,” McGreevey tells NJM. “I want to make sure that it’s a balanced, thoughtful decision.

“I have mixed feelings about getting back into the public eye. There’s joy that comes from public engagement, but the political landscape has, unfortunately, on both sides of the aisle, become more fractured and dissonant.”

But, he adds, being mayor of a city is a level of government where you can get things done, such as stabilizing property taxes and addressing quality of life issues, including cleanliness and orderliness.

Jersey City has a central place in his family’s story, McGreevey says. It’s where his grandparents settled after arriving to Ellis Island from Ireland; where his grandfather became a police officer and his mother, later, a nurse.

McGreevey says his daughters, who are 21 and 29, have encouraged him to run if he wishes to do so.

“My daughters think that I love to work and they say, ‘If this is what you want to do, then God bless you,'” he says.

McGreevey, 66, stepped down in 2004 after admitting to having an affair with one of his advisors (he came out as a “gay American” in the process). In recent years, McGreevey has been working with formerly incarcerated people to help them find jobs through an organization that he founded, the New Jersey Reentry Corporation.

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey at a table for the organization he founded, the New Jersey Reentry Corporation

McGreevey founded the New Jersey Reentry Corporation to help formerly incarcerated people find jobs. Photo: Courtesy of James McGreevey

If he runs and is elected, McGreevey would replace Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, a 2025 gubernatorial candidate. (Fulop has so far not endorsed him, nor has Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.)

With nine out of 12 Hudson County mayors backing him—that’s the majority of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO)—McGreevey is considered a strong contender for the office.

“As Hudson County mayors, we can tell you that residents are urgently concerned with their quality of life,” the mayors told NJ Globe. “Jim McGreevey has the experience. He’ll work day and night to provide for working families so that they can stay and succeed.”

But while the HCDO is known to be quite powerful, elections in Jersey City are non-partisan—so the endorsement might not sway the potential race’s outcome.

McGreevey says that as a Jersey City resident, he’s witnessed the city’s stunning exponential growth. “But,” he adds, “we want to make sure that the city works while it’s growing, such as in terms of heightened development in concentrated areas and the impact on congestion, and parking and traffic and pedestrians.”

McGreevey has been a Jersey City resident for more than a decade.

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