Corzine’s running mate

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) has decided to dance with a 74-year-old grandmother instead of an up-and-coming reality star.

PolitickerNJ is reporting that Corzine has picked state senator Loretta Weinberg, a longtime legislative advocate of ethical reform and government transparency, to be his running mate. Weinberg was Corzine’s campaign co-chair when he first ran for the Senate in 2000.

Weinberg could be a saint, but selecting her is a move borne out of weakness, not strength. At this part of the campaign, Corzine shouldn’t have to worry about inoculating himself on ethics, but that was clearly on his campaign’s mind with this pick. (He reportedly was looking at another female state legislator, but opted against it because she had ties to several indicted officials.)

It’s reminiscent of when Maryland gubernatorial nominee Kathleen Kennedy Townsend chose a retired former Republican admiral as her running mate in 2002 to prove her law-enforcement bona fides. She lost that race to Republican Bob Ehrlich (who tapped Michael Steele as his running mate.)

Corzine’s camp had mulled tapping Randal Pinkett, an African-American businessman — and a reality star who won “The Apprentice."  Pinkett, however, had no political experience, and the trial balloon drew criticism from party leaders.

This is the first election in New Jersey where gubernatorial candidates have run on a ticket with a lieutenant governor.  New Jersey was one of only several states until recently without a LG position.

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