Nation’s first openly gay governor seeks second chance in politics after 20 years

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat who became the nation’s first openly gay governor when he admitted to having an extramarital affair with a male staffer before resigning in 2004, is seeking a second chance in politics after nearly two decades away.

McGreevey, 66, announced Thursday he will seek the mayor’s office in his native Jersey City in 2025. The city’s current mayor, Democrat Steven Fulop, is not seeking reelection while he pursues a run for governor.

McGreevey is the first to jump into what is expected to be a crowded race to lead the state’s second-most populous city. His potential political comeback comes nearly 20 years after he resigned from office in the wake of a sex scandal that captivated the nation.

“At a point in every person’s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one’s soul and decide one’s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is,” McGreevey said in a 2004 speech announcing his resignation. “And so my truth is that I am a gay American.”

A campaign video shared to social media Thursday titled “Second Chances” shows him watching a portion of his resignation announcement.

“I was imperfect, and I’ll always be imperfect,” McGreevey, a former New Jersey state lawmaker and mayor of Woodbridge Township, says in the video. “It’s important to take responsibility and do the next right thing.”

“Second chances are central to who I am,” he added Thursday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

After leaving office, McGreevey trained to become a priest and founded a prison reentry program. In 2013, he was the subject of the HBO documentary “Fall to Grace,” directed by Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.