Gilbert "Whip" Wilson, a Camden Democrat who was elected Camden County sheriff last month, resigned Wednesday from the state Assembly.
"It has been my honor and privilege to hold this high office, and I regret that I will not have the opportunity to continue to serve the constituents of the Fifth District," Wilson wrote Wednesday to Speaker Vincent Prieto (D., Hudson). "Nonetheless, I look forward to serving the constituents of the County of Camden as sheriff."
Wilson did not specify the reason for his resignation in the letter, and did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon. A legislative spokesman said the issue was a state law that says a newly elected sheriff's position will become vacant if he or she does not take the oath of office within 30 days following the election.
Wilson was elected as Camden County sheriff on Nov. 3. State law prohibits holding more than one elected office.
His departure leaves Assembly Democrats with one fewer member ahead of a vote scheduled Thursday to override a veto of Gov. Christie's. The Republican governor nixed a bill that would require notification of law enforcement when a person seeks to expunge a mental health record for the purpose of buying a gun.
The override already cleared the Senate, when three Republicans joined Democrats in October in a vote that marked the first successful rebuke of Christie's veto pen.
The Assembly also has to approve the override - with at least 54 votes - for the bill to become law. Until Wednesday, Democrats controlled the Assembly 48-32; now the margin is 47-32.
Prieto, the Assembly speaker, said in a statement Wednesday that the bill "has always stood on its merits."
"I'm not looking for six votes. I'm looking for the 74 votes, as no member has any reason for changing," Prieto said, referring to the bill's originally passing the Assembly by 74-0. He said Wilson's resignation was "unfortunate, but it changes nothing."