Lesniak: having a Speaker and Senate President from the same county would be ‘unprecedented’ and ‘not good’

CORRECTION: The original version of this story contained the line “Lesniak says he won’t get entangled in the affairs of the lower house, but if Oliver becomes the next speaker, many legislators will have an easy excuse to vote for Sweeney over Codey.” The second clause of the sentence was written by the author for explanatory purposes and was not said by Lesniak. The way the sentence was structured, it came off that way. PolitickerNJ.com regrets the error.

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver’s (D-East Orange) sudden frontrunner status to be the next Assembly Speaker has direct implications for the Senate leadership contest: she and Senate President Dick Codey (D-Roseland) are both from Essex County.

“I can’t imagine that either house would be interested in having both leadership positions from the same county – that would be unprecedented and not good. But that’s stating the obvious,” said state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), who is a key vote in the Senate leadership contest between Codey and state Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford).

Lesniak says he won’t get entangled in the affairs of the lower house.

At the time Lesniak made the statement to PolitickerNJ.com, he was undeclared as to who he would support for Senate President. An hour later, Sweeney released a list of his supporters that included Lesniak.

“Getting this behind us is very, very important. The sooner we resolve this, the better. Although I would very much like Steve and Dick to have a standstill agreement, neither of them are going to stand still until after the election. So quite frankly it would be naïve to propose or even think it’s possible,” said Lesniak. “The next best thing would be to make a decision sooner rather than later.”

Lesniak: having a Speaker and Senate President from the same county would be ‘unprecedented’ and ‘not good’