The Rev. Reginald Jackson, the Executive Director of the Black Ministers' Council of New Jersey, has endorsed Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) for Assembly Speaker, according to a Star-Ledger report. The only other candidate in the race is Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), who is also African American.
At a news conference to announce his support, Oliver denied that there was any deal that linked her candidacy for Speaker to the campaign of Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) for Senate President.
"The Senate does what the Senate does and the General Assembly does what the General Assembly does. There is no trade-off," the Star-Ledger reported Oliver as saying.
And Jackson denied speculation that Oliver was a pawn in a political chess game being played by George Norcross, Stephen Adubato and other state Democratic leaders.
"We have heard rumors that she will be controlled by other folk. The Sheila Oliver that we know will not be controlled or told what to do, but will do what is best for the citizens of New Jersey, Jackson said.
Last week, Oliver told PolitickerNJ.com that she is the "most independent person ever elected."
In other news, the Star-Ledger reports that Jackson will make an endorsement in the gubernatorial race "sometime next week."