Sources told PolitickerNJ.com that Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15), chair of Barbara Buono’s gubernatorial campaign, reached out to Democratic Party leaders Thursday night in an attempt to coalesce support for the next Democratic State Party chairman.
PolitickerNJ.com first reported presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Buono wants Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31) for the job.
Among those Watson Coleman contacted looking for support for O’Donnell was Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34), who has some politically rocky history with O’Donnell.
A close ally of Assemblyman Joe Cryan’s (D-20), O’Donnell favored Cryan as speaker in an ill-fated 2011 insurrection against Oliver.
Not eager to sign on without more opportunity to scrutinize the candidate, Oliver wants to meet with O’Donnell personally before she agrees to give him her support to lead the party, the source said.
Last month, O’Donnell’s fledgling candidacy met with some resistance when a source told PolitickerNJ.com that should Buono move ahead with her choice, or anyone not accepted by the party, she could risk the wrath of South Jersey Democrats, Essex County and others. Party chairs and other leaders responded by asserting Buono’s right as the gubernatorial candidate to choose her own party chairperson.