Judge: No Special Vote to Replace McGreevey

A federal judge refused Wednesday to order a special election to replace Gov. James E. McGreevey (search).

U.S. District Judge Garrett E. Brown Jr. (search) dismissed a lawsuit that claimed McGreevey had effectively created a vacancy by saying he would step down on Nov. 15.

But McGreevey has not left office and there is no vacancy to fill by a special election, Brown said.

"He clearly intends to hold office until Nov. 15, 2004. The requirement of holding a special election does not arise. The rights of registered voters are not being violated," Brown said.

Last week, Brown heard arguments by two Princeton lawyers who filed a lawsuit days after McGreevey resigned a month ago after announcing that he was gay and had engaged in an extramarital affair with a man.

The lawyers, Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, argued that by staying in office until there is not time enough to schedule a special election, McGreevey is depriving voters of their constitutional rights.

The state Attorney General's Office argued that McGreevey has not officially resigned because he hasn't submitted a letter of resignation to the secretary of state.

Under state law, if McGreevey had left office before Sept. 3, a special election would have been called for Nov. 2. But now, Senate President Richard J. Codey (search), D-Essex, will succeed McGreevey as acting governor until the term expires in January 2006.