Diane Allen will become sixth major party candidate for Lt. Governor of New Jersey in state history once Republican Jack Ciattarelli formally announces her as his running mate sometime next week.
It will pit two women in a race for Lt. Governor for the third time in four election as Allen prepares to faceoff against the incumbent, Sheila Oliver.
Allen also becomes the first candidate for Lt. Governor from South Jersey, and the first statewide candidate from either party from South Jersey since 1993.
Allen, a former state senator from Burlington County, spent 22 years in the New Jersey Legislature before her retirement in 2017.
New Jersey created the lieutenant governor post after gubernatorial resignations in 2001 and 2004 left the state with an unelected governor for a total of 3 ½ years. Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2005 by a 56%-44% margin.
The first Lt. Governor was elected in 2009.
Gov. Jon Corzine picked State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) to run with him, while Republican Chris Christie selected Kim Guadagno, the Monmouth County Sheriff.
Weinberg edged out another state senator, Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen). Corzine mulled an eclectic group of candidates, including Randall Pinkett, a reality TV star who won Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, Montclair State University President and New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Joan Verplanck.
Allen had been number two on Christie’s list of potential running mates. Kathleen Donovan, the Bergen County Clerk, and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) had also received serious consideration.
After Buono secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to run against Christie in 2013, she picked labor leader Milly Silva, the vice president of 1199 SEIU, as the candidate for Lt. Governor. Sean Spiller, the vice president of the New Jersey Education Association and now the mayor of Montclair and NJEA president-elect, was also a potential candidate.
Four years ago, Democrat Phil Murphy selected Oliver, a former Assembly Speaker, as his running mate. Murphy considered only women in a process that was eventually narrowed down to Oliver and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson).
With Guadagno seeking to parley eight years as the state’s first Lt. Governor into the governorship, she selected Carlos Rendo, the mayor of Woodcliff Lake, as her running mate.
Rendo remains the only male to run for the post on the Democratic or Republican ticket.