Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christie gets his first challenger

New Jersey state Senator, Barbara Buono, officially announced her candidacy today for the Democratic nomination for governor of New Jersey,  thus becoming Chris Christie's first credible foe in his 2013 reelection.

So what do we know about the 59 year-old Buono?

The one sentence logline is this: She'll probably be the most progressive of Democratic choices, but doesn't have much institutional support and will be considered the underdog.

Here are some more specifics: 

a. Before assuming office, she was a lawyer.

b. She later became a Police Commissioner.

c. She was elected to the state Legislature in 1994 and became a state Senator in 2002.

d. She was Majority Leader of the state Senate from 2010-2012.

e. She commissioned a poll recently that measured her chances in a gubernatorial primary against Cory Booker. No word on the results.

f. She feuded with current Senate President, Democrat Stephen Sweeney, and was pushed out of her perch as Senate Majority leader this year.

One of the reasons for their spat -- a disagreement over Christie's pension and benefit reforms. Buono took the more liberal line; Sweeney sided with Christie.

As you might expect, things could get brutal if Sweeney challengers her (and he probably will). To make matters worse, Sweeney also ousted her from her position as chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee.

g. She's not the candidate of the establishment, which makes a difference in Jersey machine driven politics.

h. She once said that Chris Christie had "emasculated the Republican members of the Legislature."

i. She'll probably be the most progressive gubernatorial candidate. The liberal site, Blue Jersey, is encouraging progressives to eschew Dem lite potential candidates like Cory Booker or Sweeney and to support Buono.

j. She recently hired AKPD, David Axelrod's old firm, to help with her gubernatorial run.

k. A PPP poll last month found that 72% in New Jersey have never heard of her, and among those who have, her fav rating is -10%.

A PPP poll last month also showed Christie beating her by a bigger margin (40%) than he did any other major, potential opponent.

UPDATE: Here's her announcement video, which accuses Christie of practicing "trickle-down economics" and scapegoating teachers.