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Sheila Oliver completes sweep, makes political history in N.J.

November 9, 2017

With Democrat Phil Murphy winning New Jersey governor’s race, his running mate, former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver becomes the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.

She is now the second highest-ranking official in New Jersey.

Oliver gained her new title after Tuesday’s election that gave Murphy a sweeping victory over the Republican candidate, the state’s current lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno. Her running mate on the GOP ticket was Carlos Rendo, the mayor of Woodcliff Lake.

The Democrats held their victory celebration at the Asbury Park Convention Hall along the New Jersey shore. Murphy won the state with about 56 percent of the votes in a field that had seven gubernatorial candidates.

“I certainly know how the legislature works,” Oliver said during the campaign to succeed two terms of the Chris Christie administration. “I certainly have relationships with 119 members of the state legislature. And to run an effective government and to get things done, you need to cooperation in the state Senate, the general assembly and the executive branch.”

Oliver is a native of Newark, N.J., and is the first African-American woman Assembly Speaker in state’s General Assembly, serving as the 169th speaker from 2010 to 2013 when she was third in the line of succession to replace the governor.

The 65-year-old politician has more than a dozen years of legislative experience, serving in the lower house of the New Jersey legislature since 2004. She also served on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1996 to 1999.

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