Tag Archive: Jason O’Donnell

NJ State Democratic Chair: O’Donnell, Lesniak drop out. Currie a compromise candidate

At least one ugly battle dividing New Jersey Democrats has just been settled, a little more than 24 hours before a scheduled party vote to select the incoming leadership of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Here is a joint statement from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono and Senate President Steve Sweeney:

Joint Statement on the Election for Chairman of the Democratic State Committee

New Brunswick, N.J. – Today, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono released the following statement:

“Today, we talked and determined that the issues that bind us together are far stronger than any disagreements. The Democratic Party has long been a champion for working and middle class families and this year’s election is far too important to allow party in-fighting to affect our ability to help them. Our focus must be on defeating Governor Christie and winning elections up and down the ticket.

“In the interest of party unity, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell and Senator Ray Lesniak have agreed to rescind their candidacies for chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC). Passaic County Chairman John Currie has graciously accepted the position and will be the next leader of the NJDSC.

“By removing themselves from contention for State Chair, Assemblyman O’Donnell and Senator Lesniak continue to exhibit the qualities that make them tremendous leaders within the Democratic Party.  They understand that compromise is a necessary and important part of a vibrant democracy and both will work hard to ensure that Democrats win across the state in November.”

High-ranking national Democratic party official takes up NJ Dem chair fight

It’s time that Democrats stop empowering the Machiavellian Christie, and get their respect back!

think about it!

                    – Babs Casbar, DNC Executive Committee member

                       first trans person elected to DNC in its history

There’s a great discussion going on in another diary and I don’t want to take away from that. So, if you haven’t already, go weigh in. And you might also want to see this petition.

There is a strongly-worded email going around with a petition addressed to Barbara Buono and, essentially, calling on her to stand strong on her choice of Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell for NJ Democratic Chair and SEIU’s Lizette Delgado as Vice-Chair. And further, that the backbone of the party – – the “boots on the ground” everyone brags about when it’s time to GOTV – – is prepared to stand behind that choice. A grassroots effort, to be sure, in the face of the NJ Dem bossism that everyday Democrats complain about bitterly, that has enabled the meteoric rise of our Republican governor.

But coming from the grassroots as she does, we wanted to take note of a particular supporter of this effort to get Barbara Buono’s back on party direction. The quote above is from Babs Casbar. Her roots in politics are as grassroots as anybody here. She came up through the gay rights/trans rights movement. But now she sits on the DNC Executive Committee; the inner-circle leadership of the national Democratic Party. And the quote above is what said in forwarding the petition to her own contacts. Babs is a big-deal Democrat; and she wants you to think about which side you’re on here.

Here is the petition.

The election of NJDSC leadership comes Thursday night. The email circulating with the petition link pegs the forces behind Lesniak for Chair as a Machine operation, and Lesniak’s own bona fides as a loyal Democrat are questioned, with a link to a 2008 Politickernj story where he says GOP’s Leonard Lance was the best candidate in the NJ-7 congressional race, and he wanted Lance to beat Democrat Linda Stender.

Full email inviting signatures to Democratic petition, below the fold.  

Stand with Senator Buono in her fight against the party bosses

The future of our Democratic Party is at stake. What is happening to Senator Barbara Buono, our Democratic Party nominee is disgraceful. Phil Alagia (Christie ally Joe DiVencenzo’s Chief of Staff) is organizing a challenge to Senator Buono’s choice for State Chair, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell and her choice for vice-chair Lizette Delgado.

We must stand with Senator Buono in her fight to return the Democratic Party BACK to Democrats.

The Machine is backing politically connected lawyer Senator Ray Lesniak. Meet the real Ray Lesniak – See this article below where he brags about working against Democrat Linda Stender in her campaign for congress – http://www.politickernj.com/wa…

Please sign our petition at http://www.jerseydemocrats.com and Please forward this e-mail to 20 of your friends and ask them to visit http://www.jerseydemocrats.com to stand behind Senator Buono’s choice!

Can we count on you to forward this e-mail to 20 of your friends asking them to sign the petition?


Late Nights in Atlantic City: Buono Confirms Her Pick for Chair – Jason O’Donnell


Why Jason O’Donnell? Well, I’ll tell you why Jason O’Donnell. Jason is energetic, young, committed. Jason used to be a field person. [snip] Jason will do anything, will go to any lengths, to do what is right for the Democratic Party. He will unite the Democratic Party, along with Chairman Currie, myself and all of you – from north, to south, east to west.

                                    – Buono, announcing her choice for DSC chair

You can call it the political equivalent of the Friday night news dump, the late-night confirmation of Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell as the pick for state Democratic chair by the woman not every leading Democrat thought even had the right to set party direction by getting her choice.

It’s tradition that the presumptive nominee gets to make this choice; it matters for solidarity, for agreed-on allocation of resources, for speaking as a unified voice behind the standard-bearer. Making this a year not to honor that tradition – when a woman is at the top of the ticket – would have left the state Dems with an awful optics situation (particularly after this) that might have angered the Democrats’ bedrock constituency, women. It absolutely would have riled me.

As the buzz built behind O’Donnell, Christie loyalists in the party began issuing stink bombs in the press. Buono campaign chair Asw Bonnie Watson Coleman floated O’Donnell’s name a week ago, followed by a string of oh-no-she-didn’t sound bites from powerful Democrats not anxious to relinquish the reins. The loudest of these issued from party boss heaven in the north and the south; Senate President Steve Sweeney told Buono O’Donnell would divide the party, county chair Phil Thigpen in cobalt Essex said he’d support Buono’s pick as long as it wasn’t O’Donnell. Speaker Sheila Oliver had very specific concerns (and I hope her concerns were addressed).

Buono’s pick tonight was absolutely defiant. State chairs are rarely acclaimed by everyone. But this decision was made in the face of considerable muscle-flexing, and standing against that is a risk I hope pays off. That said, I don’t know all the stories of those who were willing to put aside difference and accommodate Buono’s determination. I know that there were some. There was some quiet grace shown by some powerful Dems, some generosity, some class.

Speculation at Buono’s late-night dessert reception, where O’Donnell was announced, was that the announcement was held off till way after dinner so that anybody still unhappy wouldn’t even be in the room. And some people did peel off. But there was also a competing event, Democrats 2000’s first big event with new president Jorge Santos (congratulations, Jorge), and not everybody knew O’Donnell would be announced that late.

The party was already in full swing, already loose, as a hoarse Passaic Chair John Currie (rumored in the running early on) announced Buono, who announced O’Donnell. In her remarks, Buono said “this room is the Democratic Party. Among those staying late to welcome the new chair, Loretta Weinberg, Frank Pallone, Watson Coleman, Troy Singleton, Morris Chair Lew Candura, Monmouth Chair Vin Gopal, and incoming Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop.  

Christiecrats working hard to undermine Buono’s choice for party chair

promoted by Rosi

Barbara Buono wants to appoint Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell  to be the new party chair.  This is usually the undisputed perogative of a presumptive nominee.  But the bosses and those who represent them in the legislative leadership are not thrilled by the O’Donnell choice.  And their reason gives a new spin on the word chutzpah.

According to a source familiar with the meeting, Sweeney told Buono O’Donnell was a poor choice to be party chairman and would further divide an already factionalized party.  According to the source, Sweeney told Buono the pick was hers, but stressed that it should be someone other than O’Donnell.

“He told her that while the pick would benefit people close to her, it would not benefit her or the party,” the source said.

. . . .

Last week, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who is serving as the chairwoman of the Buono campaign, approached party leaders to float O’Donnell as the choice, but Coleman continued to receive pushback, this time from Oliver, who said openly that she wasn’t sure she could trust O’Donnell.

. . . .

One Democrat had a different take, theorizing that the concern emanating from Sweeney and others had more to do with control of the money raised by the state committee than party unity.

“That’s what it seems like to me,” the Democrat said.  “They may be worried that O’Donnell or whoever Barbara picks will control all the money raised by the state committee and they don’t want that.”

Congressman Pallone Endorses Barbara Buono for Governor

With Assemblyman Joe Cryan and Monmouth County Democratic Chair Vin Gopal in the audience, Congressman Frank Pallone today joined the scores of officials and organizations endorsing Barbara Buono for Governor.

In a press conference held in the Trenton Marriott, Pallone laid out the case for Buono’s election, and Senator Buono talked about the upcoming campaign for the middle class.

Pallone is introduced by Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell.

Rally for Gun Control in Jersey City

While a rally for sensible gun laws was being held on the National Mall today, a group of about 200 New Jerseyans came to Lincoln Park in Jersey City to rally for similar controls at the state and federal levels. Hosted by Jersey City Major Jeremiah Healy, a slew of Democratic elected officials spoke about how to prevent the next Columbine or Newtown.  While the temperatures were very cold, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or the speakers.

Not a single Republican was on the stand. This should not be. Our children’s’ safety and that of ourselves should not be a partisan issue. Just like the Koch Brothers should not be dictating our energy policies, the NRA and their patrons should not be endangering our kids. As with marriage equality, the GOP is simply on the wrong side of history.

Stay tuned to Blue Jersey. Over the next few days, I’ll post some of the comments from the speakers including Congressman Frank Pallone, former Governor Jim Florio, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senators Barbara Buono, Bob Gordon, and Ray Lesniak, and Assembly members Joe Cryan, Angelica Jimenez, Connie Wagner, Charles Mainor, and Jason O’Donnell.

Assembly Democrats Rally Mashup

As thousands of New Jersey’s first-responders – firefighters, police, corrections officers emergency medical services members & many of the people they protect every day – rallied outside the State House, many of their signs expressed their disgust with Senate President Steve Sweeney, members of NJ’s other legislative body were out in force at yesterday’s massive rally.

Below, in video shot by the Assembly majority office, Democratic legislators look out at a sea of blue:

Assembly Democrats Voice Their Support for Workers’ Right to Collectively Bargain from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.