States

Party Lines

By Bess Keller — January 10, 2001 1 min read
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Texas is not the only state to lose one governor and gain another now that the protracted presidential-election drama has been resolved. President-elect Bush, the former Texas governor, has tapped two other states’ chief executives for high-level posts in his administration, opening the way for their successors.

In Wisconsin, Lt. Gov. Scott McCallum is expected to take over for Tommy G. Thompson, who has been designated as U.S. secretary of health and human services. In New Jersey, state Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco is in line to become the acting governor if Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s appointment to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Donald T. DiFrancesco

In the two years remaining in the terms they would complete, Mr. McCallum and Mr. DiFrancesco, both Republicans, are unlikely to veer far from their predecessors’ political paths.

Scott McCallum

Known as a moderate, Mr. DiFrancesco has served an unprecedented nine years as the president of New Jersey’s GOP-controlled Senate. He was elected to the state’s lower house in 1976, and moved to the Senate in 1979. Technically, Mr. DiFrancesco, 57, would remain as Senate president while assuming the chief executive’s duties. As Senate leader, he has successfully pushed legislation to increase state funding for school construction and backed the establishment of charter schools.

With 14 years of service at Gov. Thompson’s side, Mr. McCallum is the nation’s longest-serving lieutenant governor. Earlier, he had a seat in the state Senate. Mr. McCallum, 50, has advocated statewide academic standards, charter schools, and merit pay for teachers.

Both men have declared their interest in running for governor in two years.

—Bess Keller

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A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2001 edition of Education Week as Party Lines

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