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McGreevey steps down as N.J. governor

TRENTON, N.J. -- Governor James E. McGreevey submitted his letter of resignation yesterday, ending a tenure doomed by a shocking summertime disclosure that he had engaged in a gay, extramarital affair.

The letter, signed by McGreevey, was filed with Secretary of State Regina Thomas. It says, "Dear Madam Secretary, I resign effective 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 15, 2004."

Aides said McGreevey's last day in office was expected to be quiet, spent with family away from Trenton. He is not expected to conduct state business.

On Sunday, state Senate President Richard J. Codey took the oath of office as acting governor in a private ceremony at his home. He takes over after McGreevey has officially left the job at midnight.

"I'm looking forward to governing and bringing back calm, peace, and a sense of harmony to the state of New Jersey," Codey, 57, a Democrat, said after his brief ceremony.

The transfer of power caps a transition period that began with McGreevey's announcement in August that he is gay and would resign this month with 14 months left in his term.

On Friday, a pair of moving trucks carted the governor's belongings away from the State House. McGreevey is reportedly moving to an apartment in Rahway while his wife moves to a home in Springfield, where she plans to live with the couple's 2-year-old daughter.

Because New Jersey is one of eight states without the position of lieutenant governor, Codey will wield the clout of both governor and Senate leader for a time, filling the governor's term that ends in January 2006.

Codey said last week that he has not ruled out a run next year for a full term as governor, although US Senator Jon S. Corzine, a popular politician with vast financial resources, is expected to pursue the Democratic nomination. Codey plans to make ethics reform a top priority. Ending the practice of awarding government contracts in exchange for campaign contributions has topped lawmakers' agendas over the past few months.

McGreevey faced serious questions about the ethics of his administration, including the hiring of his alleged lover as his homeland security adviser.

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