Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the New Jersey governor’s race, chose Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver Wednesday to be his running mate as lieutenant governor.
Murphy and Oliver are taking on current Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and her soon-to-be-announced running mate in the November general election contest to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Chris Christie.
“Sheila’s going to be an active, contributing member of our administration, because she not only knows our challenges, but also how to get out from under them,” Murphy said. “Sheila Oliver has stood up (for) everything that Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno … stood against.”
Murphy was the U.S. ambassador to Germany in the Obama administration. Guadagno is the state’s first elected lieutenant governor and ran on a ticket with Christie twice.
The lieutenant governor oversees the state department, including elections, and serves as governor when the sitting governor is out of the state or leaves office before the term ends.
Oliver was the first black woman to serve as Assembly speaker, before losing the position to Assemblyman Vincent Prieto in 2013. She has served in the Assembly since 2004 and served on the Essex County board of chosen freeholders from 1996 to 1999. She was born and raised in Newark and has a sociology degree from Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University.
“Phil and I will have your back,” Oliver said. “If only I could say the same thing about the administration we have been strangleholded by during the past seven and a half years.”
On Tuesday, Green Party candidate Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale announced that media commentator Lisa Durden would be his running mate.
Durden is a former Essex County community college adjunct professor who was fired after officials at the school said she made racially insensitive comments on Fox News. College officials said they received complaints about Durden’s interview with host Tucker Carlson.
Durden, who is black, discussed a Memorial Day event held exclusively for black people hosted by a Black Lives Matter group. When Carlson asked for her thoughts, Durden interrupted him and said: “Boo hoo hoo. You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card” to attend the event.