If the organization lines hold and Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy wins the nomination of his party, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-34) commands attention as a potential running mate, sources tell InsiderNJ.
If Oliver were to vacate her seat, there are several potential (and intriguing) possibilities for her replacement.
Freeholder Director Britnee Timberlake. She’s from Oliver’s hometown of East Orange, which is a big plus (it’s difficult, frankly, to picture someone who’s not from EO as the replacement), and close to powerful Essex County Chairman Leroy Jones.
East Orange Councilman Chris James. He’s also from East Orange. He’s got statehouse chops, too, as Oliver’s former chief of staff, and obvious Democratic State Committee connectors as that organization’s executive director.
Freeholder Brendan Gill. Okay, it’s a long-shot. Phil Murphy’s chief political minder is from Montclair, so it’s unlikely he’d be in the mix unless Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-34) opted to retire, giving Jones an opportunity to completely reevaluate his Assembly options. But Giblin’s not going anywhere, which greatly reduces Gill’s chances. Also it’s unclear whether Gill – patriarch of a growing family and enjoying his success in his behind-the-scenes capacity of his political life – would want his life hampered with assembly duties at present. But he does serve as the local Democratic Party chair in Montclair.
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Jim Johnson. Reportedly ticked at longtime friends in the 34th district when they backed Murphy for governor instead of him, it’s very unlikely he’d picked. He’s taken his fair number of shots at Murphy- including at last week’s debate. But he lives in Montclair, and- already schooled in the arts of running against the democratic machine – might be unable to resist a warpaint-wearing second act as an off-the-line, keepin’-’em-honest assembly candidate.