The Governor's Secret Life

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Golan Cipel has accused Jim McGreevey (r) of sexual harassment

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When McGreevey got married for the second time in 2000, he and his wife Dina had their wedding reception on a hotel roof in Washington, according to Philadelphia magazine, even though neither is from that city. From the top of the Hay-Adams hotel, you can toss a cat onto the White House lawn. Jim and Dina were clearly an ambitious couple; she has been a mover in New Jersey's large Portuguese community. What does his coming out mean for her?

Predictably, Dina is "heartsick," according to a McGreevey adviser. But, he says, it was her decision to stand by her husband at the news conference. She wore a slightly vacant, utterly immovable expression, but she was next to him. His first wife Kari Schutz is also there for him, in her way. From her home in Canada, she was telling reporters last week that her former husband is a good father and a supportive ex. Asked if she knew he was gay, she told TIME, "We've always had open communication."

Over the past few weeks, as the threat of a Cipel lawsuit mounted, McGreevey had to decide whether he would just come out of the closet or also resign. Some advisers, including Zoffinger, argued that he should try to weather the scandal. In the end, however, "[McGreevey] didn't want to go through what Bill Clinton went through with the impeachment process," says Zoffinger. "He didn't want to put the state through 16 more months of debate about this issue."

McGreevey apparently didn't mind putting the state through three more months of debate, since he's not actually leaving until November. The delay is nakedly political — by waiting so long, McGreevey ensures that the state cannot hold a special election on Election Day. A fellow Democrat, state senate president Richard Codey, will finish out McGreevey's term as Governor, which lasts until January 2006 (New Jersey has no Lieutenant Governor).

McGreevey has worked hard for the Democrats for many years, and the timing of his departure will be his final gift to the party as Governor. But all his work — what has it meant? "He never achieved an approval rating that was close to 50% because of this litany of lapses of judgment," says Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. McGreevey's father once told him, "Don't worry about being liked. Worry about being respected." McGreevey could well leave office with little prospect of either.

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