John O. Bennett
|John O. Bennett III|
|Acting Governor of New Jersey|
January 8, 2002 – January 12, 2002
|Preceded by||John Farmer Jr.
as Acting Governor
|Succeeded by||Jim McGreevey|
|Born||August 6, 1948|
John O. Bennett III (born August 6, 1948) is a former New Jersey Republican politician who served as State Senator, President of the State Senate, and Acting Governor of New Jersey during the course of his career.
As President of the Senate he served as Acting Governor for three and a half days in January 2002 following the resignation of Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Bennett's predecessor as Senate President, Donald DiFrancesco had previously served as acting Governor, and Bennett in turn succeeded to the office of acting governor when DiFrancesco's term ended and he was elected as the new Senate President.
During his service as acting governor, Bennett appeared on national television as part of the "five governors in a week" news cycle. He signed legislation into law, appointed judges, granted a pardon, created a nursing advisory council, and hosted several parties at Drumthwacket. The nursing advisory council was a tribute to his wife, Peg, a nurse. Peg Bennett was active during her tenure as First Lady of New Jersey.
In June 2002, Bennett was involved in a shoving match with South Jersey Democratic Party boss and Commerce National Insurance CEO George Norcross after Norcross threatened to publicize a pardon Bennett gave during his three day executive tenure if Bennett could not convince his fellow Republican senators to vote for a tax increase and stadium construction bill in committee.
Bennett fell out of favor as a result of allegations that he overbilled the municipality of Marlboro Township for legal services. In a statement to the press, Bennett blamed party bosses and a biased press for attempting to destroy him. Bennett was a leading opponent of using state funds to construct a convention center/stadium in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey that would have been used by a minor league ice hockey team that Norcross had bought an interest in.
In the 2005 primary election he was elected Republican State Committeeman for Monmouth County. John O. Bennett is also a professor at Montclair State University. In June 2012 he was elected the chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Party Committee during its annual reorganization meeting.
- Mansnerus, Laura. "Jersey State House Loses Race and Party's Hopes", The New York Times, November 5, 2003. Accessed November 26, 2007. "Mr. Bennett, a moderate Republican who became the highest-ranking Republican officeholder in the state amid Democratic gains in the Senate and General Assembly two years ago, conceded defeat at around 9:30 p.m. following a rough race against Ellen Karcher, Marlboro township's council president, who took 52 percent of the vote. Mr. Bennett got 43 percent, and the Green Party candidate, Earl Gray, received 5 percent."
- D'Ambrosio, Roberts, & Symons (March 15, 2003). Grand jury subpoenas secretary - Bennett to keep top Senate job, run again. Asbury Park Press.
- Murphy, Brian P. (July 1, 2002). Senatorial suspense on the CBT and arena. PoliticsNJ.com
John Farmer Jr.
|Acting Governor of New Jersey
January 8, 2002–January 12, 2002
|President of the New Jersey Senate