Assemblyman Arthur Barclay (D-Camden) has still not resigned his seat, despite announcements from his county chairman and the Assembly Speaker that he has, according to legislative sources.
Barclay has not signed his letter of resignation, which is necessary for his departure from the Legislature to become effective. His verbally offered his resignation to State Sen. James Beach, the Camden County Democratic Chairman, last night after the New Jersey Globe broke the story of his June 7 arrest on assault charges.
The assemblyman told the New Jersey Globe at 5:02 PM on Monday that he would not know if he was resigning his office.
“I will know at six o’clock,” Barclay said. He promised to answer questions in an hour.
Several subsequent calls to Barclay, beginning at 6:03 PM yesterday, were not immediately returned.
Beach cannot call a special election convention to fill Barclay’s seat until at least seven days after his resignation. His resignation is not official until the Assembly receives his signed letter.
Sources say that Barclay has been difficult to reach, and that Democrats are hopeful that he will turn in his letter tonight.
The timing is important because of the looming budget battle and possible shutdown of state government. Barclay’s seat is expected to be filled by an ally of Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. If the legislative leaders decide to try to override a gubernatorial veto – Democrats don’t necessarily have the votes to do that – a vacancy could derail their chances.
Barclay’s legislative office declined comment and refused to say whether he is or is not currently representing the fifth district in the State Assembly. The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services has removed Barclay from the state website, but a spokesperson acknowledged that they do not have anything in writing. Barclay’s nameplate was still at his seat in the Assembly chamber on late Tuesday, and his name is still on the vote tally board.
If a replacement for Barclay is seated before July 1, the legislative leaders could decide to wait until shortly after noon on that date to schedule an override vote. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is resigning to become the mayor of Trenton, and with 79 seats filled instead of 80, that would drop the number of votes needed in the Assembly from 54 to 53.