‘Consensus’ candidate sought in N.J. to challenge Christie in November

The top Democrat in the New Jersey Senate says it’s important for his party to agree soon on a candidate to oppose Gov. Chris Christie in the November election.


Senate President Steve Sweeney says Democrats know it won’t be easy to defeat Christie.

“It’s going to be a tough race. It’s always a tough race when you face an incumbent. So we want to make sure that we put the best candidate forward,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “I’m one of the people that we’re looking at. Other county leaders are calling. So we’ll figure that out shortly, but it has to be figured out very shortly.”

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Until then, Sweeney says, the governor has “the biggest microphone.”

“Once you have consensus candidate, that person actually winds up having the same size megaphone or microphone, and the message is a lot stronger because that’s where you’re starting to draw the contrasts,” he said Monday.

Sen. Barbara Buono of Middlesex County is the only declared Democrat in the race so far. While Sweeney says there’s “nothing wrong” with Buono, he’s continuing to recruit another candidate. And he has not ruled out running himself.

Christie now has a fundraising edge, but Sweeney expects whoever the Democrats choose as their candidate will be financially competitive.

He says the 700,000 voter registration advantage the Democrats have should also help.

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