Christie gets first official opponent in '13 re-election
December 11th, 2012
02:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Christie gets first official opponent in '13 re-election

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie now has a Democratic challenger as he runs for re-election next year, but it's probably not the candidate you may have had in mind.

New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono Tuesday officially announced her bid for governor in an email to supporters and on her campaign website. In a video, the Democratic state lawmaker criticized the tough-talking Republican governor.

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"Today our state has an unemployment crisis, the highest jobless rate in over three decades. Instead of bipartisanship, Gov. Christie has offered trickle down economics, policies that have landed New Jersey 47th out of 50 states for economic growth," said Buono. "It's time for a leader in Trenton who will put the middle class first - lifting our schools instead of scapegoating our teachers; protecting property taxpayers rather than pushing income tax cuts for millionaires."

The Christie campaign pushed back against Buono's comments.

"Barbara Buono has never met a tax increase she didn't like. She was a chief architect of the failed tax, borrow and spend policies of the Corzine years. Sen. Buono ushered in an era of skyrocketing taxes and reckless spending that sent New Jersey's economy spiraling in the wrong direction," Christie campaign strategist Mike DuHaime told CNN.

Buono's announcement comes two days after Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he would make a decision on running for governor in the next two weeks, adding that there were many good Democratic candidates in his state that are waiting for his announcement. Booker, who's considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, could possibly be a field-clearing candidate if he decides on a bid for the Democratic nomination.

But Booker may pass on a gubernatorial run next year and instead campaign for U.S. Senate in 2014 if Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a fellow Democrat who turns 89 next month, decides to retire instead of running for re-election.

New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney is also seriously considering a bid for governor. Other Democrats contemplating a 2013 run are state Sen. Richard Codey, who served as governor for 14 months following the November 2004 resignation of then-Gov. Jim McGreevey, as well as state Assembly member Lou Greenwald.

Fellow assembly member John Wisniewski announced over the weekend that he was not going to run for governor.

Christie announced his re-election bid late last month. A slew of recent polls in New Jersey indicated that the governor's approval rating was soaring, thanks in part to his very active response to Superstorm Sandy, which struck the Garden State in late October and caused severe damage.

The surveys also indicated that Christie had large double-digit leads over all of his potential Democratic challengers, including Booker, in hypothetical 2013 general election matchups.

Asked about those polls, Booker said Monday on CNN's "Starting Point" that "Christie is vulnerable, as it should be, because there's a lot of issues in the state he's not falling in line with. From women's issues, environmental issues, from really going in a balanced way."

At a news conference a few hours later, Christie responded to Booker's comments, saying, "What do you expect him to say? If I'm vulnerable at 77% so be it. That's OK. I'm fine."

New Jersey, along with Virginia, are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year after a presidential election. Because they are the only games in town, they often receive outsized attention.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this story.

Filed under: 2013 • Chris Christie • Cory Booker • New Jersey
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Christie was county wide district attorney before he went to Trenton as governer. His Democratic successor found dozens and dozens of unprosecuted cases of misbehavior by elected officials, Republican and Democrat alike. but mostly Republicans who faced the most severe looming charges.

    The cases against most of the Democrats seemed to be politically motivated pettiness, aimed at retribution and one upmanship. In other words, Christie had seemingly ignored bringing charges against corrupt Republicans, while actively pursuing investigations into Democrats. Nice guy.

    December 11, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F

    There are not very many republicans you can trust, including Christie.

    December 11, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "I don't think our tax dollars should be used for union wages why can't their work speak for the job they do."

    What are you daft? Beacuse "their work speak[ing] for the job they do" doesn't put freekin food in the children's bellies, educations in their children's heads and a roof over their children's beds. Gov't employees were getting the shaft prior to public employee unions beacuse of the exact same thing that's going on now: politicians trying to pander to the rest of the populace by cutting jobs and wages in order to balance the budget while keeping taxes super low. If you don't like it because you resent that they're now making more than you...despite still only making a barely living wage...then you should be blaming YOUR EMPLOYER and unionizing your own fellow laborers in order to increase your own bargaining power. The answer isn't to demonize your fellow middle-class andn working-poor laborers and help destroy them to assuage your resentment and spite.

    December 11, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Captain Teatubby needs to GO. His policies are killing the middle-class in NJ and designed specifically to keep them under the thumb of the wealthy. Destroying the bridge project was just the first of many giant gifts he gave the GOP/Teatrolls and their coroprate sponsors....all just to keep the bridge project from creating over 6,000 unionized construction jobs. He's molesting the public education system in NJ and making all sorts of other ideologically conservative decisions. Reap what you sow NJ. Get rid of him or you've planted your misery.

    December 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "There are not very many republicans you can trust, including Christie."

    Correct. None is "not very many."

    December 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    the all-you-can-eat buffet Gov better become a contest on Biggest Loser is he expects to have a chance

    December 11, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. James Bond

    Sniffit has a clue, good, we need more people to realize, helping the rich fuc you is not a good idea, RTW is a power grab, attempt to cut funding for dems, so they can buy the next election, better make a stand while you can, the republican party has no interest in middleclass survival. wake up before its to late, union enrollment and household wages rise and fall together, look it up, dont take my word for it, when is the last time a republican wanted you to check facts, they want you to believe what they say without question. red flag

    December 11, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. judy

    I live in a right to work state wages are low If you make 16 or 17 dollars an hour that's big money and you only make that if you work for a union employer. Most jobs pay less. taxes are lower and so is housing but because salaries are so low we cannot fund better education . Our roads are a mess and many just fall through the cracks. We have lots of people on welfare ,Our students are at the bottom end in education, most leave the state if they do have a college education. suicide rates are very high as is domestic violence. The state complains about big government but cry's they need more federal funding. I hope Booker does not run for Governor he will do more good in the senate.

    December 11, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |