(CNN) – New Jersey Democrat and gubernatorial hopeful Barbara Buono released a new web video Monday–but it's not the ad getting the most attention in the Garden State these days.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie is taking heat for his role in a new tourism ad for his state following the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy.
The television commercial, released last week, is part of a $25 million tourism campaign using federal funds to promote the Jersey Shore this summer.
So what's the problem?
Christie, who's running for re-election this year, makes a cameo in the 30-second spot, prompting some critics to say the potential 2016 presidential contender is using federal taxpayer dollars to boost his political image.
After Congress delayed sending tens of billions in relief aid to Northeastern states at the beginning of this year, Christie went on a blistering critique of Washington lawmakers during a now-famous press conference.
"We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans," he said, adding politics was trumping the needs of U.S. citizens. "For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."
The Star-Ledger in New Jersey noted in a biting editorial Sunday that it's not the people who are most bouncing back from the story who get to star in the tourism ad–it's the state's governor, who already gets plenty of air time and positive ratings as the public face of state recovery efforts.
"(It's) not the small business owners working to get back on their feet. Not shore residents trying to rebuild, or their kids," the editorial stated. "Not even celebrities, as in the 'Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again ad campaign after Hurricane Katrina, which featured local stars who participated for free. Were Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi simply unavailable?"
Christie may face more questions Monday when he makes a media appearance on the Lavallette Boardwalk.
The governor and his family appear in the ad for about five seconds at the end, as they sit on the shore and declare the state is "stronger than the storm."
Christie has argued in defense that "there's nothing political about the ads" and his aides point out that the commercials won't even be running in New Jersey itself, according to the Star Ledger.
But the editorial asked that "given Christie's presidential ambitions, is it any surprise that he'd use federal relief dollars to splash his face all over TV in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Canada – in addition to ads in print, on the radio and Internet?"
Colin Reed, a spokesman for the governor, told CNN the move was a creative decision by the Stronger Than The Storm campaign to include Christie and his wife in the ad.
"They are in a uniquely qualified position to tell a very wide audience beyond New Jersey that our state and our Shore is open for business," he said.
Christie saw a surge in his poll numbers during the aftermath of the storm, a popularity that he's maintained in the last six months.
Recent surveys also indicate the governor has a strong advantage over his Democratic opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.
In Buono's new web ad, the state senator takes a light-hearted approach in telling voters how to say her often-mispronounced name. She has been vastly outspent by Christie in ads.
They criticize Christie even though he's a moderate conservative and the most likeable and electable person from both sides of the aisle. Our political system is a disaster now that's it's been taken over by extremists from both sides. Where did all the moderates and compromises go?
I live in Denver, and Gov. Hickenlooper is in ALL of our tourism ads. We even joke about his "film career". Seems to work though, we had a stellar ski season. You go all out promoting your state Gov. Christie, don't let the lemmings get ya down!!
So they criticize Christie even though he's a moderate conservative and the most likeable and electable person in both parties. Our political system is a disaster now that's it's been taken over by extremists from both sides. Where did all the moderates and compromises go?
Many, if not most, governors appear in ads of various sorts promoting their own states as tourist destinations. If tourism goes up then that helps the state's economy. A stronger economy helps the state recover from natural disasters.
RudyNYC, I have rarely taken issue with you on this forum but you are wrong: whatever federal dollars were spent shooting this add will be gained back tenfold, hundredfold in terms of taxes collected by NJ and sent back to DC. The sad thing is that the money generated by these ads will most likely go to states whose delegations voted against Sandy relief.
As governor of the state, there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about him being in an ad promoting tourism in his state. In fact, I wouldn't expect the governor to do anything less.
Lets make something non partisan, political. Another politician who wants to put the party before her state. NJ should never ever elect this person. She will line her pockets and not your states. That is all she is saying by complaining.
I agree with Justin H.
Regardless of what he might or might not do in 2016, today he is the Governor of NJ, and promoting tourism is definitely part of his job.
Isn't he SUPPOSED to be out there publically promoting NJ, in any legal way possible? Didn't the folks in his state hire him to do just that?
Are you kidding me? The Democrats are complaining about Christie's 5-second spot in the ad when Obama is on TV more than I Love Lucy reruns!! Stop the nonsense!!
Could be worse, they could have used Mitt Romney and driven people away.
So fed up with the political correcness and liberals. This is Christie's state for heaven sake. He certainly should be in the tourism ads. Who better to do that? I hope he runs for President and blows them out of the water. We need someone who is honest and forthright unlike the liars we have in there now.
"Where did all the moderates and compromises go?"
Oh, we are here every now and again trying to get our voices heard. Thing is, we KNOW who we are and don't pretend to be what we aren't. Chris Christie is NOT a moderate. Perhaps he is personable enough for New Jersey, but he is NOT presidential material nationally, and he knows it. Thus, he is milking his New Jersey voters for another stint at governor ... milking both Democrats AND Republicans alike. It is a theme being carried out by a great many governors who pretend to be what they aren't. Most are living under the Republican tent these days. Moderate until elected; becoming radical Republicans after elected.
I hope he keeps the ads and I hope all the haters get so mad they have a heart attack. I'm so sick of these idiots hijacking politics with petty things instead of actually talking about solutions to problems.
Washington fears him as he tells it like it is...! Truth is we need more just like him..! Congress has no problem sending aid to other country's and drags there feet for there own citizens.
Guess Christie had to do something to counteract the negative publicity the MTV show Jersey Shore brought to that area. It's not the storm that keeps people from outside that northeast corridor away from the the Jersey Shore...
The only extremists are the ones who claim to be Republicans.
GIVE IT UP with the criticism of Gov. Christie. He's doing – and has done – so much for his state. He BELONGS in a state commercial. Please find a real issue to whine about.
Didn't he have his stomach stapled recently? why is he still fat?
And anyway, who cares if he is in a commercial about New Jersey, he lives in New Jersey.
Wasn't Arnold in an add promoting tourism in California not long ago? I could be mistaken, but I don't recall that raising much of a spat. LIberal media, maaaan. They're runnin' scared!!
As a Democrat I have no problem with this. He is the governor and it is his job to help build the economy of his state. I’m pretty sure he isn’t the first or last to do this.
This poor man is very obese, and not likely to live very long. I suggest the governor seek professional mental help, as obesity is a sign of serious mental illness.
Please gov – get the help you need to get all that bacon grease out of your brain.
Shee, I live here in N.J. and I have no problem with him being in ads promoting tourism.
$25 million Federal dollars for tourism ads?
It's the least Obama could send him for handing him the election.
"given Christie's presidential ambitions, is it any surprise that he'd use federal relief dollars to splash his face all over TV in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Canada – in addition to ads in print, on the radio and Internet?"
PA is the only one of those that is actually going to come anywhere near helping him win the presidency. Canada doesn't even have any say, and NY and MD are about as "blue" as it gets.