The Southern New Jersey Assembly delegation has endorsed Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) to become the Assembly Speaker, making the Essex County Democrat the front runner in her bid to succeed Joseph Roberts (D-Camden).
Late last night, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) dropped his own bid for Speaker and endorsed Oliver. There is strong speculation that Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), the Democratic State Chairman, will also back Oliver, along with the other three members of the Union County Assembly delegation. Six votes out of Essex County would give Oliver the votes she needs to win the leadership post.
Democrats say that Cryan is emerging as the leading candidate for Majority Leader. The current Majority Leader, Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) is running for Speaker. So far she only has votes from Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) and herself.
The South Jersey delegation includes Assemblymen Nelson Albano (D-Vineland), Matthew Milam (D-Vineland), John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro), Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Twp.), Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees), Herbert Conaway (D-Delano), and Jack Conners (D-Pennsauken), Assemblywomen Celeste Riley (D-Bridgeton) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Cherry Hill), and Democratic Assembly candidates Bill Collins, Donald Norcross, and Angel Fuentes. Only Albano and Milam face competitive re-election campaigns.
“We are honored to endorse the candidacy of Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver to become our next Speaker, because Assemblywoman Oliver offers strong leadership at a time when our state needs it most,” said Greenwald, the Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “Assemblywoman Oliver has been a passionate advocate for New Jersey’s struggling families and will lead the fight to make New Jersey affordable again for future generations.”
“I speak for all of my colleagues in expressing our will to govern as one New Jersey– a state not separated by jurisdictional, geographic, or media boundaries. We look forward to working with Assemblywoman Oliver as we take our state forward and on the path to economic prosperity,” said Greenwald.