Democratic Committee Chairman Pleased With Prieto as Speaker, Disappointed by Buono’s Concession Speech

After Tuesday’s general election, Assembly Democrats chose a new speaker — Vincent Prieto. Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he’s comfortable with the change.

“Vinny would do an excellent job,” said Currie. “I’ve worked with him in the past. I think he was an excellent budget chair. He brings people together. He works well with people, so I’m looking forward to him to continue his good work and keep the pressure on down there.”

Now that Prieto has been voted as the Assembly’s new speaker, Shiela Oliver will leave the post. Currie said that Oliver did nothing wrong during her time as speaker, which lasted two terms. He said when it’s time for a change, it’s time for a change.

Gov. Chris Christie won reelection against Democratic nominee Barbara Buono by a wide margin. Following the results, Buono made some comments about her political party. Currie said that Democrats did not let her down but that maybe some people let her down. He also said that Buono worked hard throughout her campaign since the day she was nominated and that she gave it 110 percent.

As for Christie, Currie says it would have been tough for anybody to run against him at the current time in the state. Currie also said that Christie has his own brand and that it doesn’t carry over to anyone in his party.

On Election Day, plenty of the state’s Senate seats were up for grabs and Senate minority leader Tom Kean made comments about how Republicans would claim the majority and unseat Senate President Steve Sweeney. Now that the election didn’t go the way Kean thought it would, Currie said it may have weakened Kean.

“I think Sen. Kean is weaker today because of it, because the Senate president prevailed and he’s probably stronger than ever right now,” said Currie.

Currie said Sweeney might be on a short list of potential candidates as the Democratic nominee in the next gubernatorial race.

In her concession speech Tuesday night, Buono thanked Currie but also made a few comments about his selection as the Democratic Committee chairperson. Currie says it was not the place to address the issue and that he was disappointed in her speech.

As for his future as the Democratic Committee chairperson, Currie said that he will sit down and gather some opinions, then make a decision about it.