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: 'I'm the decider'

While describing to fellow Republicans a conversation he said he had with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Gov. Chris Christie borrowed a self-attribution from his old pal George W. Bush.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 28th

  Winners and Losers: Week of July 21st Christopher Rodriguez Governor Chris Christie this week announced his selection of the CIA operative as New Jersey’s next Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP). (Politicker Staff) http://www.politickernj.com/77941/winners-and-losers-week-july-21st     Torres saddles up with Fulop and Baraka for...

Op-Ed

NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"A pain management surgeon, Roque said he estimates that the trial and initial loss of patients and other headaches may have personally cost him about $800,000. Ouch." - columnist Agustin Torres, the Political Insider

- The Jersey Journal

Poll

Given another chance, who would you choose to run the county RIGHT NOW?:

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