During a period of one week back in 2002, New Jersey had five different governors; the state has no lieutenant governor, and when the governor’s office is vacant the president of the Senate serves in both roles. In 2005, tired of this arrangement, voters passed a constitutional amendment creating a lieutenant governor position. The election of 2009 will be the first in which candidates, chosen by their parties’ gubernatorial nominees, appear on the ballot. Gov. Jon Corzine, in deep trouble in the polls, is rumored to be looking at Randal Pinkett, winner of the fourth season of “The Apprentice” (which, coincidentally, is the fourth season of that show that I’ve never watched) as his running mate.
The rationale for a Pinkett pick is that he’ll shore up support among the African-American community and his celebrity will add some sparkle to the ticket. This is unlikely to happen, but even if it does it’s less likely to help. Corzine is that damaged. In fact, there are only three celebrities the governor could choose to run alongside who would actually cause the electorate to consider voting for him: Bruce Springsteen, James Gandolfini, and Joe Piscopo (I know the last one seems like something of a surprise, but every New Jerseyan secretly loves Joe Piscopo.They’ll deny it to outsiders, but it’s true. They keep little shrines to him in their homes. The traditional birthday present for a thirteen-year-old in New Jersey is a DVD copy of the 1986 film Wise Guys in which Piscopo co-starred with Danny DeVito. Ask any native New Jerseyan to recite a scene from Johnny Dangerously and you will be stuck for hours listening to their Piscopo impressions. New Jerseyans worship Joe Piscopo.), and I don’t think any of those guys are really up for it. Well, maybe Piscopo. The governor should give him a call.