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Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Murphy will spend Thanksgiving out of state

Oliver will serve as acting governor from Tuesday through Friday

By David Wildstein, November 22 2021 7:22 pm

Sheila Oliver will be New Jersey’s Thanksgiving Day governor.

Gov. Phil Murphy will travel out of state on Tuesday morning and return on Friday afternoon.  As lieutenant governor, Oliver in next in the line of succession and will serve as acting governor in Murphy’s absence.

Oliver will have no public schedule this week, the governor’s office announced.

It’s unlikely that Senate President Steve Sweeney, who follows Oliver in the line of succession, will get another crack at being acting governor before he leaves office on January 11.

Sweeney last served as acting governor for two days in June 2017, when Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno both attended a Republican Governors Association meeting in Colorado.

At the end of Christie’s first year as governor in 2010,  Sweeney became acting governor when Christie was on a family vacation to Disney World and Guadagno went on a cruise in Mexico with her father, who was dealing with personal health issues.

A significant weather event occurred during that time – the first of Christie’s governorship – and he was widely criticized for being in Florida during a blizzard.

Christie was also pounded for being out of state at the same time as Guadagno, since the Lt. Governor position was less than a year old and was created for exactly this kind of situation.

As a result, Christie banned Guadagno from being out of state at the same time her was and compelled her to clear her personal and official travel schedules with his staff.  That was the beginning of the strained relationship the two enjoyed for the next seven years.

Before the Lt. Governor post was created, the Senate President became acting governor when the governor was out of state.  If he was unavailable, the Assembly Speaker would become acting governor.  In some cases, the line of succession allowed the attorney general, the state transportation commissioner, and the Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore, to become acting governor.

The last Assembly Speaker to serve as acting governor was Joseph Roberts in 2009.

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