Buono’s choice in chairman gets lukewarm reception from some Dems

ATLANTIC CITY – News that presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono plans to tap Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell as next party chairman got a lukewarm reception among some top party members Friday.

Democrats reacted to the news at the New Jersey Democratic State Committee conference in Atlantic City with few words.

“That’s Senator Buono’s choice,” the outgoing state party chairman, John Wisniewski, told PolitickerNJ.

“That’s all I have,” Wisniewski responded when asked a follow-up question.

“I think Senator Buono had the right and the responsibility to name the chair,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, adding, “Part of me says I’m glad it’s over, we’ll all move on from here.”

Other top lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, declined to immediately comment on Buono’s choice.

“Let us respect the process,” said Oliver, explaining she will wait until the news is official before commenting.

Buono is set to name the Hudson County Assemblyman at the state party’s dessert reception, which is part of the annual conference, PolitickerNJ learned. Buono’s choice of O’Donnell caps a month-long drama that saw Democratic party leaders working hard to convince Buono to find another choice, needling her both publicly and privately to move off O’Donnell.