Group tries to recall Gov. Corzine

March 26, 2008 12:24:18 PM PDT
Three Glen Ridge residents are the first in New Jersey history to try to recall a governor. The state Attorney General's office said the three filed a notice of intent to recall Gov. Jon S. Corzine in November's general election.

The state's recall law took effect in 1995.

Attorney general's spokesman David Wald said this is the first time since then anyone has filed papers to recall a governor.

The effort is being led by Carl Bergmanson, his son, Andrew Bergmanson, and Carolyn Martin.

Carl Bergmanson, the effort's chairman, is a former Glen Ridge mayor and councilman who has led a petition drive to have Pluto reinstated as an official planet. He said he's an independent voter who considers himself a Whig, an 1800s political party.

He said he decided to try to recall Corzine because he failed to back a citizens-led constitutional convention to reform property taxes, proposed significant highway toll increases and is seeking steep municipal aid cuts, especially for small towns.

"It's going to cost people in property taxes," Carl Bergmanson said. "It's going to hurt senior citizens. These small towns are the lifeblood of this state."

Corzine's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

To get a recall question placed on the ballot, state law requires the three to gather 1.2 million signatures from registered voters, or 25 percent of the voters in the state's last general election, within 320 days.

The attorney general's office approved the petition format on March 18.

The group has started a Web site at where people can download and print recall petitions.

They petitions state, "It is our intention to recall Jon Corzine, Governor of the State of New Jersey."

"The focus here is simple - this guy is not doing the job and he needs to go," Carl Bergmanson said.

State recall laws vary, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, gubernatorial recall bids typically fail.

Before California's 2003 recall election, in which Gray Davis was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only other recall of a governor occurred in North Dakota in 1921. In 1988, Arizona voters got enough signatures to have a recall election for Gov. Evan Mecham, but he was impeached before the vote.

Carl Bergmanson conceded that getting 1.2 million signatures would be tough.

"We're going to give it our best shot," he said. "It's only going to happen if enough people get involved."