Running for governor out of her home town of Monmouth Beach, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno may want to summon the spirit of fellow Republican – and legitimate tough guy – William Barbour to her statewide side.
New Jersey prides itself on tough guys.
We lost one of them last week – Lou Duva, who trained Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title.
Discovered after his death to be a crook who embezzled thousands, Governor Harold Hoffman once actually punched out a reporter; and when Muhammad Ali showed up in Jersey City in the 1970s, Jersey City Mayor Tommie Smith jumped in the ring with him. So did then-Governor Brendan T. Byrne, feats almost equaled a few years ago when Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop squared off against former cruiserweight and light heavyweight champion Tomasz Adamek.
But Barbour – who served as a U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1931 to 1937 and again from 1938 until his death in 1943 – actually was the amateur heavyweight champion of the United States and Canada in 1910 and 1911. And unlike other East Coast politicians who talk about building walls on the border of Mexico, Barbour in fact served as a captain on the Mexican Border as a national guardsman.