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Jersey, Senate Dems play tug-of-war over Corzine

McGreevey resignation sparks speculation

From Ed Henry and Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau

New Jersey
James E. McGreevey
Jon Corzine

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats are watching political developments in New Jersey, hoping Gov. Jim McGreevey will resist mounting pressure to leave office earlier than his announced mid-November resignation, two senior Democrats in Washington told CNN Tuesday.

If McGreevey leaves office before September 3, Senate Democrats fear Sen. Jon Corzine, D-New Jersey, would leave the Senate -- and his key role as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- in order to run in a special gubernatorial election.

Corzine has not said what he would do.

McGreevey, married and the father of two, announced last week that he would step down November 15, after revealing that he was gay and saying that he had a homosexual, extramarital affair.

Many New Jersey Democrats want McGreevey, a Democrat, to leave office in time to trigger a November 2 special election that the wealthy and popular Corzine can run in.

But that position is at odds with Senate Democrats in Washington who see Corzine as an effective head of the DSCC, someone who could help the Democrats win back control of the Senate this year.

One senior Democrat called the speculation "premature" because McGreevey appears to be sticking to his decision not to leave until November 15.

If that remains the case, McGreevey's term would be finished by Democrat Richard Codey, who is the president of the New Jersey Senate.

Corzine then could run for governor next year, after his job at the DSCC is completed.

"I don't think this is going to end up being anything," said the other senior Democrat.

New Jersey Republicans are publicly calling for McGreevey to leave office immediately, saying his decision to delay his resignation is nothing more than a political calculation designed to keep a Democrat in the governor's office.

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