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N.J. Republicans call for McGreevey to step down ASAP

N.J. Republicans call for McGreevey to step down ASAP

New Jersey state Republicans on Friday said that Gov. James E. McGreevey should step aside immediately, one day after the governor revealed that he is gay, had an extramarital affair, and will resign in November. Joe Kyrillos, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, called on McGreevey to "do the right thing" and step down right away. McGreevey on Thursday said he will resign November 15. McGreevey said the circumstances around his affair with a man and its effects on his family threatened to undermine his "ability to govern." Kyrillos said Friday that rumors about the affair as well his "suspicion that there will be more awkward stories in the days and weeks to come" prompted his call for McGreevey to quit immediately. He should "resign now," Kyrillos said at a late morning news conference. "His decision is bigger than Jim McGreevey. It transcends one person, one governor. It's a much bigger issue. This is something that impacts everyone in the state of New Jersey," Kyrillos said. A day earlier, McGreevey made his shocking revelation at a televised news conference, with his second wife at his side. "My truth is that I am a gay American," McGreevey said. He described decades of sexual confusion that dogged him through two marriages and ultimately led him to an act he called "wrong, foolish, and inexcusable. Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign," he said without elaborating on what the circumstances were. McGreevey, 47, refused to answer questions. "It makes little difference that as governor I am gay," he said, adding, however, that staying in office and keeping the affair and his sexual orientation secret would leave the governor's office "vulnerable to rumors, false allegations, and threats of disclosure." McGreevey said his resignation would be effective November 15--11 days after the coming general election. Two sources close to McGreevey, both speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the man involved in the affair was Golan Cipel, an Israeli poet who met the governor during a trip to Israel. One source, a senior McGreevey political adviser, said Cipel threatened McGreevey several weeks ago that unless he was paid "millions of dollars," Cipel would file a lawsuit charging the governor with sexual harassment. Cipel could not be reached for comment. An FBI spokesman did not confirm reports that McGreevey's office called the bureau Thursday to report Cipel's alleged plan for extortion. In February 2002, Cipel was named to the newly created post of New Jersey homeland security adviser without any background check or official announcement. "I know Golan and have worked with him closely," McGreevey told The Record of Bergen County at the time. "He's a super-bright and super-competent individual who brings a great wealth of knowledge on security." After questions arose about what Cipel did to earn his $110,000 salary, he was reassigned a month later to a "special counsel" job. A few months later, Cipel left his government position. New Jersey senate president Richard J. Codey, a Democrat, will become acting governor and serve out the remainder of McGreevey's term, which ends in early 2006. If McGreevey were to leave office before September 3, a special election would be held. McGreevey had a daughter with his first wife, Kari, who lives in British Columbia with the child. He has another daughter with his current wife, Dina. McGreevey spokesman Micah Rasmussen declined to answer any questions about the future of McGreevey's marriage. On Friday, George Zoffinger, a McGreevey friend and state official, told ABC's Good Morning America that he had dinner with the governor after his announcement. "I think he has a real sense of relief in that he has gotten this off his shoulders," said Zoffinger, chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

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