Leadership source says O'Donnell a "non-starter" as Dem party chair - Buono fires back
By Darryl R. Isherwood | April 9th, 2013 - 7:30pm
| More

Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell, who earlier this week was called presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono's first choice to take over as state chairman of the party, is a non-starter among party leaders in the state, a source told PolitickerNJ today.

"It's indicative of her failing campaign that she would choose someone like Assemblyman O'Donnell who would not be acceptable to several Democratic leaders around the state," a highly placed Democratic source said today, echoing the party dissension that has been evident throughout Buono's campaign.

But Buono today fired back at her detractors, scoffing at the notion that her naysayers would control her moves.

"There is no way I'm going to let anyone dictate to me who is going to be state party chair," Buono said in an interview after her appearance on Capitol Report.

Should Buono move ahead on the choice of O'Donnell, or anyone not accepted by the party, she could risk the wrath of South Jersey Democrats, Essex County and other factions of the party.

As for why some leaders believe O'Donnell does not fit the bill of party leader, the source cited the Hudson County Assemblyman's role in an attempted overthrow of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

A source close to Oliver agreed that O'Donnell's past, as well as his ties to Union County Assemblyman Joe Cryan, who was the architect of the move against Oliver, would no doubt be a stumbling block for the speaker.

"I wouldn't say the speaker would rule it out, but I don't know where this support would come from," the source said.

One name floated to take over for current state Chairman John Wisniewski is state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the majority leader in the Senate. Weinberg or another leader like her could unite the factionalized party, the source said.

However, reached for comment on the chairmanship, Weinberg immediately threw water on the idea.

"I have no interest in being state party chair," Weinberg said. "Of the jobs that I have aspired to, that one has never even made the list.

The statement from Democratic leaders about O'Donnell's candidacy is seen by many as a frontal assault on Buono's role as the party's standard bearer, who by custom chooses the state party chairman. 

But at least some Democratic leaders are adamant that Buono must engage the party in the choice of its state chairman.

"If she does this the party will walk away," the source said.

Party discord has so far marked the gubernatorial contest as Democrats have not gotten fully behind Buono's bid.  Today, the Star Ledger reported that Senate President Steve Sweeney was considering introducing a tax cut for the coming fiscal year, a move some say would benefit Gov. Chris Christie and hurt Buono.

While Weinberg and other Democrats spoken to say the tax cut has always been a possibility, particularly if revenues for the current fiscal year  come in at or close to projections, others in the Buono camp say it was a clear shot at the Democratic candidate.

Buono herself didn't see it that way.

"If the revenues are performing as they should, I favor property tax relief," Buono said today.

The Back Room

Christie invades South Carolina

On his first visit to South Carolina as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Chris Christie stayed in "moderate Charleston, in contrast to other potential GOP candidates who made early visits to conservatives elsewhere," according to an ABC News report.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 17th

U.S. Senate race: Bell defends gold standard stance MONTCLAIR - On the same day he was politically brickbatted by the chief adviser to the last Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bell stood by a key plank of policy platform: monetary reform...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
The Correct Foreign Policy – Neither Fortress America Nor Pax Americana      Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  It started with the... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton

Poll

Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources