Mourning NJ Lt. Gov. Oliver: What Happens to the Position?
TRENTON — With the state reeling over the sudden death of trailblazing Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver — a clear timeline has been laid out for what happens to the vacant office.
Under the state constitution, the governor has until Sept. 14 to name a new person to the office of lt. governor — 45 days within a vacancy in the office due to death, resignation or removal.
That individual would serve the remainder of the term.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver has passed away at the age of 71. She had been hospitalized at Cooper Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston for an undisclosed illness.
Any viable candidates for either office must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the U.S. for at least 20 years, and a state resident for at least seven years.
New Jersey created the office of Lt. Governor after voters weighed in on a 2006 referendum to amend the state's constitution.
Republican Kim Guadagno was the first to serve in the post starting in January 2010, elected alongside Gov. Chris Christie the previous November.
They both served two terms, until Murphy and Oliver officially took their respective offices in January 2018.
With that election, Oliver became the first woman of color to serve in a statewide elected office in New Jersey history.
They won re-election in November 2021.
The next gubernatorial election has been scheduled to take place on Nov. 4, 2025, after which point the governor and lt. governor-elect would be sworn in the following January.
The governor's choice for his second in command does not require state Senate confirmation, according to Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.
One caveat would be if Murphy were to appoint someone not already heading a state department — that element of the appointment would be subject to Senate approval, Rasmussen added.