Add U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s name to the list of Democrats around the state unhappy with the choice of Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell as state party chairman.
A source close to the senator from Hudson County said Menendez is in agreement with Senate President Steve Sweeney that O’Donnell, also from Hudson County, should not head the party.
Menendez lost faith in O’Donnell last year when state Sen. Nia Gill challenged Donald Payne Jr. in a primary to succeed Payne’s father in Congress. Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Mark Smith backed Gill, against the wishes of Menendez, who backed Payne.
O’Donnell is Smith’s top lieutenant, putting him on the wrong side of Menendez.
O’Donnell, and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono, are facing heavy opposition to O’Donnell’s ascension to lead the state party. Sweeney has been the most vocal opponent but others in the party have weighed in in opposition as well.