Buono officially chooses O’Donnell

ATLANTIC CITY – The Democratic Party’s presumptive gubernatorial nominee officially tapped Jason O’Donnell as chairman of the state party.

Sen. Barbara Buono introduced O’Donnell to a crowd of Democratic supporters during the party’s conference. Passaic County Democratic chairman John Currie was there alongside Buono as she made the announcement.

Buono declared O’Donnell “will unite the party” and said she chose him as her choice for chairman because of his commitment to the Democrats.

O’Donnell will still need to be voted in to the position by state Democratic Party officials.

Two party leaders who expressed early opposition to O’Donnell, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, were absent from the room.

The announcement capped a day of speeches from top Democrats as the party rallies support for the person likely to challenge Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie