NEW YORK, July, 20 2013 — With only two states, Virginia and New Jersey, holding gubernatorial elections this year, observers are likely to monitor them closely for signs of what they say about the next presidential election.
New Jersey voters will elect a new governor in little over three months. According to a July 10, 2013 Quinnipiac University poll, Governor Chris Christie leads State Senator Barbara Buono by 61-29 percent and has a 2-1 job approval rating lead as well.
The Bergen Record has also reported that Governor Christie has raised $6.9 million compared to senator Buono’s $2.9 million.
Do likely voters even know who Buono is? Apparently not. The same poll found that, “Buono gets a 25 percent favorability rating, with 29 percent unfavorable and 45 percent who don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.”
National Democrats have not invested much in Senator Buono’s campaign either; $3,800 so far, according to one report.
With her job approval lagging, a 30-point deficit in the polls, a lack of financial support from national Democrats, and fundraising challenges, candidate Buono faces an uphill battle against Christie this November.
Christie, on the other hand, is benefiting from a display of genuine leadership and concern for all New Jersey residents as the eye of Super storm Sandy hit New Jersey last year, his ability to work with President Obama on recovery efforts, and bi-partisan deal-making with top Democrats in the state legislature to pass historic reforms on property tax caps, teacher tenure reform, and the signing four Democrat-approved balanced state budgets during his first term. Christie has tangible accomplishments to share with voters on the campaign trail.
What’s more, Republican Christie has racked up the endorsements of 37 elected Democratic officials and continues to make inroads with the states Hispanic voters as well. Top officials like Essex County Executive and Bishop Reginald Jackson are publicly supporting Christie. While it’s not unusual to hear of a Democrat supporting a Republican for political purposes, as the state saw in the Administrations of Governors Kean and Whitman, it is unusual for these Democrats to make their support known publicly.
Perhaps if Buono can secure ringing endorsements from Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, and continued support from Senate candidate and Newark Mayor Corey Booker, it might help as the campaign progresses, but that support has not yet materialized.
Christie seems well-liked by voters on both sides of the political aisle despite the backlash from public employees and teachers who took exception to his measures to have them contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries to cover their health benefits similar to employees at private companies. The disgruntled public workers and teacher’s union have not yet had a meaningful impact on the campaign.
With voters lacking information about Buono and members of her own party supporting her opponent while Christie continues to gain momentum, Buono has a serious uphill battle to fight in the next several months to challenge Christie for Governor of New Jersey.
Rich Valdes is a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Administration, an award-winning marketing director and brand manager who has managed projects for government agencies, several educational institutions, and entertainment clients; producing high-profile special events for various charities. As a frequent contributor to TV, radio, and print media outlets, Rich’s commentary on social issues and popular culture have been featured on Hot 97 FM, CNN Headline News, Telemundo, Univision,and The Washington Times. When not involved with debating, politics, education, and culture, Rich is a single dad, school board member, and Young Benefactor at VH1 Save The Music Foundation. Follow Rich on Twitter @richvaldes
Frank R. Lautenberg, a Democrat running for the Senate in 1982, marching with Mayor Edward I. Koch and Bella Abzug in a parade in Manhattan.
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