New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono is the first Democrat to enter next year’s race for governor.
In a recorded announcement of her candidacy, Buono accuses Gov. Chris Christie of trickle-down economics. It’s a policy, she says, that has left the Garden State with its highest unemployment rate in three decades.
“I’ll champion innovative job creation, smart budgets, and fair taxes,” Buono vows.
Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says Buono will get support from a left-of-center base, but her chances of getting the Democratic nomination depend on whether Newark Mayor Cory Booker enters the race.
“He has such high name recognition and will have support from a lot of major benefactors,” Murray says. “He’ll have support of the party organization. Those things are just impossible to overcome for almost any challenger.”
Analysts say Buono of Middlesex County is smart to get in the race now because it gives her a jump on raising money for the campaign.
Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says Buono presents the best contrast to the governor of any of the potential Democratic candidates.
“She has a different manner. She’s certainly not going to come across as a bully,” he said. “She’s got a lot of budget experience in the legislature to draw on to criticize the governor.”
Though Buono doesn’t have much statewide name recognition, Woolley said that might not hurt her chances of getting the Democratic nomination to run against Christie.