Kim Guadagno

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Kim Guadagno
Kim Guadagno 2011 (cropped).jpg
1st Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey
In office
January 19, 2010 – January 16, 2018
GovernorChris Christie
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded bySheila Oliver
33rd Secretary of State of New Jersey
In office
January 19, 2010 – January 16, 2018
GovernorChris Christie
Preceded byNina Wells
Succeeded byTahesha Way
75th Sheriff of Monmouth County, New Jersey
In office
January 1, 2008 – January 19, 2010
Preceded byJoseph Oxley
Succeeded byShaun Golden
Personal details
Kimberly Ann McFadden

(1959-04-13) April 13, 1959 (age 63)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyIndependent (2021–present)[1]
Other political
Republican (until 2021)
Michael Guadagno
(m. 1991)
EducationUrsinus College (BA)
American University (JD)

Kimberly Ann Guadagno (Italian pronunciation: [ɡwaˈdaɲɲo]; née McFadden; born April 13, 1959)[2] is an American lawyer and politician who served as the first lieutenant governor and 33rd secretary of state of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018.

Guadagno was the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey in 2017, but lost the subsequent election to Democrat Phil Murphy.

Early life and education[edit]

Kim Guadagno was born Kimberly Ann McFadden[3] in Waterloo, Iowa, the middle child of five of Mary Patricia "Pat" (Blevens) and Charles A. "Chuck" McFadden Jr.[4][5][6] Her father's job in sales had her living in many different places prior to going to college. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania in 1980, and a J.D. degree in 1983 from the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.


Early legal work[edit]

Kim Guadagno is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the District of New Jersey. She was also Assistant New Jersey Attorney General. Serving as deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney's office's corruption unit from 1994–98, Guadagno was responsible for the corruption prosecutions of former Essex County Executive Thomas D'Alessio (a Democrat) and of Somerset County Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell (a Republican).[7] In 1994, in a case involving an executive of lottery contractor GTECH Corporation, the U.S. Attorney's Office was criticized by the judge overseeing the case for the disclosure of grand jury testimony in a sentencing report; the issue was never referred for further ethical or legal investigation.[8] The lottery executive went to jail. The D'Alessio and Bissell cases were each recognized as one of the top federal prosecutions in the country at the time by the US Department of Justice.

She served as deputy director from 1998 to 2001 in the Division of Criminal Justice, where she supervised prosecutions of a $40 million financial fraud and of David L. Smith, creator of the "Melissa" computer worm.[7] She taught legal research and writing at Rutgers School of Law–Newark from 2003 until Nov. 2009. In 2005 Kim Guadagno was elected to Monmouth Beach's non-partisan governing body as one of its three Walsh Act commissioners.[7]

Monmouth County Sheriff[edit]

Elected the 75th sheriff of Monmouth County in 2007, succeeding Joseph Oxley, she became the first woman to serve in the post.

As Sheriff, Kim Guadagno pursued an aggressive agenda to fight crime, strengthen community outreach and enact innovative initiatives.[9] Sheriff Guadagno served as the chief executive and administrative officer of Monmouth County's largest law enforcement agency with nearly 700 employees who serve in the Law Enforcement Division, the 1,328 bed maximum security correctional institution, the youth detention center, the Civil Division and the Public Safety and 911 Emergency Dispatch Center. During her time as Sheriff the office received the Department of Defense Pro Patria Award which recognizes employers for their extraordinary support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.[10] Under her supervision, the office also received the "Six Star" simultaneous accreditation of the law enforcement division, the correctional facility, correctional healthcare and youth detention center from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office was the first out of 3,088 Sheriff's Offices in the United States to receive the award.[11] The department was one of 11 accepted nationwide into the federal program established under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g) which allowed corrections officers to check the immigration status of prisoners before they were released.[7] The corrections department also instituted a GED program so inmates could continue their education while incarcerated.

Sheriff Guadagno also expanded "Project Lifesaver," which uses bracelets with a radio-tracking device that allows Sheriff's Officers to locate persons with Alzheimer' or Autism who wander or become lost.[11] Furthermore, she held a county-wide Safety Fair to highlight the expansion of "Project Lifesaver" and to promote the multiple other programs offered to the community including "Reach for Your Dreams" an anti-drug, anti-gang program; "Safe CARGO" which specially trains and certifies sheriff's officers to inspect and properly install child safety seats; and "Child ID Program" a child photo ID program that allows children and parents to carry identification in the event their child becomes lost. Finally, Sheriff Guadagno was the first Sheriff in New Jersey to institute a medical ID program to help ensure appropriate medical and law enforcement response to medically sensitive persons, such as children with special needs and encouraged autism training at the Police Academy.

Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State[edit]

On July 20, 2009, Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie chose Guadagno as his running mate, in the first New Jersey election to include voting for a lieutenant governor. Guadagno was selected over a number of other Republican women, including State Senator Diane Allen and Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan.[12] Guadagno was not a well known political figure statewide in October 2009. According to Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll, Guadagno's name recognition in New Jersey was low with only 15% of voters reporting that they were aware of her. Out of the New Jersey voters that knew of Guadagno, 4% reported having a "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable" opinion while 3% reported that they had a "very unfavorable" or "somewhat unfavorable" opinion of the prospective Lieutenant Governor.[13] Christie and Guadagno defeated Jon Corzine and Loretta Weinberg on November 3, 2009.[14]

Guadagno in 2010

Christie also appointed Guadagno New Jersey's Secretary of State and charged her with overseeing economic development efforts and the streamlining of government regulations. She was sworn in on January 19, 2010 as the first Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey and the 33rd Secretary of State.

As the Secretary of State, Guadagno was responsible for overseeing artistic, cultural, and historical programs within New Jersey, as well as volunteerism and community service projects within the state. She supervised multiple programs, including the State Archives, the state's research facility and repository for public records of historical value and the Division of Travel and Tourism, which is charged with promoting New Jersey as a premier travel destination.

Additionally, Guadagno headed the Division of Elections and served as the Chief Elections Official and chair of the Board of State Canvassers, which certifies election results for federal and state office elections and public questions. She oversaw the Division of Programs which includes the Governor's Office of Volunteerism, the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service, the Office of Faith Based Initiatives and the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research, and Development.

Candidacy for governor[edit]

Kim Guadagno was the 2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee, having won approximately 46.8% of the popular vote in the June 2017 statewide primary.[15] She lost to Democrat Phil Murphy on November 7, 2017, garnering 42.2% to Murphy's 55.7%.[16]

Post-political career[edit]

In April 2018, Guadagno joined law firm Connell Foley as a partner working out of its Jersey City office.[17]

In May 2019, Guadagno became CEO and president of Fulfill NJ (formerly known as The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean County). During her two year tenure at the foodbank, Guadagno closed a $1.5 million dollar budget gap, stabilized management, set a record for fundraising and managed the pandemic which included serving 10,000 more meals per day than pre pandemic. She was removed from the position in April 2021 amid disputes with Monmouth County officials, including Shaun Golden, the chair of the county Republican Party.[18] That July, Guadagno left the Republican Party and registered as an unaffiliated voter, reportedly due to her discontent with Golden.[19]

Controversies, issues and positions[edit]


Guadagno supports a pro-choice position on abortion but would like to see fewer women choose the option of abortion. She herself adopted a son. Christie expressed a pro-life stance on abortion during the primary campaign.[8]

Arts Council allegations[edit]

In early 2011, after reviewing a routine state audit of the prior administration’s affairs, Guadagno publicly criticized the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for its sloppy handling of public art projects, implying that state funds may have been fraudulently awarded. An official state investigation ended in December 2011 with no finding of wrongdoing. But, the insider contracts were cancelled, the money was returned and the director who awarded the insider contracts was replaced by the Council of the Arts. The officials who received funding from the contracts hired attorneys at their own expense.[20][21]

Allegations of pension fraud[edit]

While she was Monmouth County Sheriff, in 2008, Guadagno hired Michael Donovan, a retired investigator with the county prosecutor's office, as her chief of law enforcement. Under state laws on "double dipping", anyone holding such a position must forego any public pension they are otherwise eligible to receive as long as they hold that position, and resume making pension fund contributions from their pay. To allow Donovan to do so, the position of chief warrant officer, in charge of serving legal process and arrest warrants, exempt from the pension system, was created for him within the department.[22]

However, Guadagno's organizational chart, memos to staff and a press release described Donovan as chief of law enforcement. While Guadagno later argued this saved taxpayers' money, those savings were more than offset by the additional money to pay Donovan's salary.[22]

Guadagno later claimed that the state Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS) had approved her actions. However, in 2011 the PFRS board, responding to allegations of pension fraud within sheriff's offices around the state, requested that the office of Attorney General Paula T. Dow review records of Donovan's hiring for possible "false and conflicting statements" by Guadagno, by then lieutenant governor. Instead of requesting a special prosecutor, Governor Christie referred the case to Attorney General's Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ),[22] which a year later concluded the investigation, telling the PFRS board that it could take administrative action but not sharing its finding as to whether criminal conduct had occurred. An investigative reporter sued the state to release the records of the investigation; in early 2016 a court ordered DCJ to release some of those records but excluded a five-page document on Guadagno's role.[22] In short, no action was taken in response to the allegations, by either the bi-partisan pension board or the Attorney General's Office and Mr. Donovan remains in the Sheriff's Office to this day – years after his initial appointment.

Hoboken Sandy funds[edit]

On January 18, 2014, Mayor of Hoboken Dawn Zimmer, appearing on MSNBC,[23] claimed that Guadagno had pulled her aside in a supermarket parking lot and directly linked Hoboken's receipt of Sandy funding to the approval of a large proposed private development project that required substantial zoning changes to move forward. Mayor Zimmer then said that several days later Richard Constable, director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs also insinuated to her that more Sandy relief funds would be released to the city if it approved the project in its northwest quadrant.[24][25] The developer, the Rockefeller Group, has ties with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chief David Samson, a Christie appointee and close Christie associate. On February 22 the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed members of the city's government and potential witnesses, who were instructed to preserve any evidence they might possess.[26] They were also asked by the office of United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Paul Fishman, to not discuss the matter publicly.[27] On January 31, the city acknowledged that it had received subpoenas from that office.[28][29]

After a 16-month investigation the US Attorney for NJ concluded that Zimmer's claims were unfounded. In letters dated May 1, 2015 to Guadagno, Constable and Ferzan the US Attorney wrote: "Based on the evidence developed during the investigation and our review of applicable law, we have concluded that no further action is warranted in this matter. Accordingly, the investigation of these allegations have been closed."[30]

2010 vacation[edit]

In December 2010, Guadagno went on a scheduled vacation with her father who was dying of prostate cancer, while Governor Christie later decided to go with his family to Disney World. With both officials out of state, a blizzard hit New Jersey and Stephen M. Sweeney, the senate president and a Democrat, had to preside as acting governor to declare a state of emergency. Guadagno and Christie were criticized for both being out of state at the same time.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Guadagno moved to New Jersey in 1991 and has been a resident of Monmouth Beach, a borough in Monmouth County, since marrying Michael Guadagno in 1991. Her husband was a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. He was appointed to the bench in 2005 by then-Governor Richard Codey, and elevated to the Appellate Division by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in 2012.[33] The Guadagnos have three sons.[34][35][36]

Judge Guadagno submitted his letter of resignation on January 26, 2017 in advance of reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 later that year.[37] Because Lieutenant Governor Guadagno is also Secretary of State and thereby receives resignation and retirement letters of New Jersey judges, Judge Guadagno's resignation letter was addressed to his wife in her personal as well as official capacity, referred her then-prospective run for the post of Governor, and was signed "your loving husband".[37]

The Guadagnos have three sons. One of the three, Kevin, is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and is an F-35 fighter pilot.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kim Guadagno, Christie's Lt. Governor, leaves Republican Party". July 22, 2021.
  2. ^ Dinges, Tomas (August 9, 2009). "Unprecedented role for Lt. Gov. candidate Kim Guadagno". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  3. ^ "Kimberly McFadden". Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  4. ^ "State of New Jersey". Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  5. ^ "Ballotpedia – Kim Guadagno". Ballotpedia. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  6. ^ "Charles A. "Chuck" McFadden Jr.'s Obituary on The Virginian Pilot". The Virginian Pilot.
  7. ^ a b c d Stile, Charles. "Christie announces lieutenant governor pick", The Record (Bergen County), July 20, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009
  8. ^ a b Halbfinger, David M. "New Jersey G.O.P. Candidate Picks Woman as His No. 2", The New York Times, July 20, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
  9. ^ "Kim Guadagno". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  10. ^ "Monmouth County Sheriff's Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 13, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Brochure" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  12. ^ Margolin, Josh; and Heininger, Claire. "Chris Christie introduces Monmouth Sheriff Kim Guadagno as GOP lieutenant gov. candidate", The Star-Ledger, July 20, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
  13. ^ Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll "PublicMind Name Recognition"
  14. ^ Silverleib, Alan. "CNN projects Republicans win governor races in Virginia, New Jersey", CNN, November 3, 2009. Accessed November 3, 2009.
  15. ^ "New Jersey Primary Results: Murphy Will Face Guadagno in Governor's Race". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Election Results: Murphy Wins New Jersey Governor Race". The New York Times. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  17. ^ Christian Hetrick (April 27, 2018). "Former New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Joins Connell Foley". Observer Media. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  18. ^ Cervenka, Suzanne (April 23, 2021). "Guadagno leaving Fulfill food bank following clash with Monmouth County commissioners". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  19. ^ Wildstein, David (July 22, 2021). "Kim Guadagno, Christie's Lt. Governor, leaves the Republican Party". Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  20. ^ McGlone Kim (December 29, 2011). "7 months later, N.J. probe into allegedly fraudulent public art contracts comes up empty". Newark Star Ledger.
  21. ^ "N.J. to investigate 3 contracts awarded by state arts council". June 8, 2011.
  22. ^ a b c d Lagerkvist, Mark (January 5, 2016). "State Shuts Door on Guadagno Pension-Fraud Probe, But Questions Remain". New Jersey Spotlight. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  23. ^ Kornacki, Steve (January 18, 2014). "Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges". MSNBC. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  24. ^ Freidman, Matt (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken mayor claims Christie administration held city's Sandy recovery funds 'hostage' to help developer". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  25. ^ Giambusso, David; Baxter, Chris (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleges Chris Christie's office withheld Sandy aid over development deal". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  26. ^ Rashbaum, William K. (January 23, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor is said to have told of threat". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  27. ^ Isikoff, Michael (January 22, 2014). "FBI questions Hoboken mayor's aides over alleged Sandy relief funds threat: sources". NBC News. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  28. ^ Hayes, Melissa (January 31, 2014). "Christie scandal: Hoboken documents subpoenaed by U.S. attorney". The Record. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  29. ^ Freidman, Matt (January 31, 2014). "U.S. Attorney subpoenas Hoboken in Hurricane Sandy funding investigation". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  30. ^ Sherman, Ted; Friedman, Matt (May 1, 2015). "Bridgegate investigators clear Christie administration in Hoboken development deal allegations". Advance Digital. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  31. ^ Bagli, Charles V. (December 28, 2010). "In Trenton, Emergency Puts Senator Back at Helm". New York Times. p. A21. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  32. ^ Corasaniti, Nick (November 2, 2017). "Guadagno, Hoping to Succeed Christie, Tries to Escape His Shadow". New York Times. p. A19. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  33. ^ "Judge Michael A. Guadagno Elevated to Appellate Division of Superior Court", July 3, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  34. ^ "Honorable Kim Guadagno". Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "Chris Christie picks Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno as running mate". July 20, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  36. ^ "Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno Biography" (PDF).
  37. ^ a b Arco, Matt (February 21, 2017). "Read the one-of-a-kind resignation letter Kim Guadagno got from her own husband". NJ Advance Media. Retrieved March 17, 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Sheriff of Monmouth County
Succeeded by
New office Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by