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Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Oliver would back Jones in state chair race

Lt. Governor breaks with Murphy

By Nikita Biryukov, January 02 2019 2:15 pm

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver broke with Gov. Phil Murphy Wednesday, saying she would support Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones over State Chair John Currie should the former choose to run for state chair.

“LeRoy Jones has been my municipal and county chairman, as has Chairman Currie, so I know both of the men equally well,” Oliver told the New Jersey Globe. “I’ve been supportive to both of them, and we will see what occurs, but as an Essex County person, of course if Chairman Jones runs, I am going to support him.”

Still, Oliver said such conversations were premature with the election still about a year away. Jones has not announced his run but said in December he was interested in the post and would run if drafted.

On Wednesday, he said he was not prepared to announce a run at the state chairmanship.

If Jones chooses to challenge Currie for the position, the resulting race could become a proxy battle between Murphy, who backs Currie, and Democratic leaders in the legislature who have feuded with the governor during his first year in office.

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