Known by mobsters as “the man who couldn’t be bought,” Brendan Byrne led New Jersey into a new era when he won the state’s gubernatorial election by a landslide in the wake of political corruption scandals. A former prosecutor and judge, Byrne was soon condemned as “one-term Byrne,” the inept politician who few thought would risk the humiliation of standing for a second term. Yet Byrne surprised both friend and foe alike by pulling off the state’s most remarkable political comeback, winning re-election and leaving a legacy of preserving the vast resources of the Pinelands, enacting the state’s first income tax and comprehensive school financing reform, developing the Meadowlands, approving casino gambling in Atlantic City, and initiating strong environmental controls to combat pollution.
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