There is a path for Loretta Weinberg to serve as Governor of New Jersey.
Here’s how it works: if Steve Sweeney resigns as Senate President on the final day of the legislative session, the Senate can replace him with Weinberg.
Then Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver would need to briefly leave the state – the six minute drive to Morrisville works – and Weinberg would be sworn in as the Acting Governor.
That would make Weinberg the first woman to serve as New Jersey Senate President, a historical benefit to her high esteem in the legislature.
Something similar has happened before, albeit under the most tragic of circumstances.
In 1962, Robert Crane, a 41-year-old State Senator from Union County, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He had been the editor and publisher of the Elizabeth Daily Journal and a former president of the New Jersey Press Association.
As a tribute to Crane, he was elected Senate President on the day the legislature began their new session. Governor Robert Meyner had lunch in Pennsylvania so that Crane could be sworn in as acting governor. He signed two bills into law and presided over the Senate.
Crane resigned as Senate President one hour later and was replaced by the legendary Frank “Hap” Farley, the Atlantic County Republican boss.
There was some political significance to the events.
Republicans maintained their 11-10 majority of the New Jersey Senate after the 1961 election and the GOP needed Crane present in order to organize the chamber.
Crane resigned in March – sadly, he passed away the following month – leaving Farley at the helm of a 10-10 Senate until a special election to fill the vacant Union County Senate seat was filled in November 1962.