University Trustee and alumnus Corzine wins New Jersey gubernatorial race

By David Kaye

University Trustee Jon S. Corzine, MBA ’73, won New Jersey’s gubernatorial race on Tuesday, defeating Republican candidate Douglas R. Forrester with 53 percent of the vote. Corzine, a Democrat, is currently a U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

The campaign, which by the end of the race was characterized by slanderous attacks from both sides, was also the most expensive in New Jersey’s history. The two candidates, both multimillionaires, collectively spent more than $73 million in the general election and the primaries.

Although Corzine and Forrester were initially engaged in debate over such issues as reducing property tax bills—the highest in the nation—and cleaning up corruption in state politics, their rhetoric in the last months was dominated by personal attacks.

Forrester criticized Corzine for extending a $470,000 loan—which he later forgave—to a state worker union president with whom he had been romantically involved, according the New York Times.

The Times also noted that Corzine lambasted Forrester for the no-bid contracts Forrester’s business, BeneCard Services, has with local governments and for pocketing rebates from prescription drug companies.

The mudslinging culminated on Thursday of last week, when the Forrester campaign aired a commercial featuring a quote from Corzine’s ex-wife. In a November 2 New York Times article, Joanne Corzine had said that her former husband “let his family down, and he’ll probably let New Jersey down, too.”

That same night, the Corzine campaign released an ad denouncing the “Bush/Rove smear tactics” employed by Forrester.

During his campaign, Corzine repeatedly emphasized the significance of his financial background. “I started on the ground floor of a great American business, worked my way to the top,” he said, according to an Associated Press report. “I’ve truly lived the American dream—and now I want to work to make certain everyone in New Jersey has the same shot at that dream I’ve had.”

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1969, Corzine served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves until 1975. He enrolled in the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1970, and was later recruited by Goldman Sachs. Rising to the position of chairman and CEO, he left the company in 1999.