ATLANTIC CITY – Democratic Party officials came together in South Jersey Friday evening to rally behind the state lawmaker set to challenge Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Sen. Barbara Buono was surrounded in Atlantic City by top party officials who say it’s time to rally behind their standard bearer in the fight to defeat Christie. They argue the incumbent is setting himself up to get ready for a 2016 presidential race, and that he will stray far from working with the needs of New Jersey’s Democratic population if re-elected in November.
“The fact of the matter is that Gov. Christie is not our friend,” said Congressman Donald Payne, adding, “I know there are some Democrats who think that he is, but he’s not.”
Payne warned Christie will swing far to the right if re-elected in an effort to win support of the country’s hard-line Republicans in the primary leading to the 2016 presidential election.
“He’s going to be going to Iowa and New Hampshire, leaving this state and not caring about this state at all,” Payne said. “He’s going to move so far to the right.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker appeared at a cocktail reception for Buono in an effort to drum up support for the state lawmaker dragging far in the polls behind a governor who’s enjoying record-high popularity.
“Don’t you dare tell me that this is going to be a difficult race,” Booker said. “I support Barbara Buono because I believe in what she stands for,” he said. “This is a winnable race.”
Buono shared her life story with conference attendees, arguing Democrats “have to work” for middle-class families, public education and the public’s wellbeing over “corporate welfare.”
“This is the time for us to unite around our core values and ensure that our middle class does more than survive. Together, we must make sure our middle class thrives once again,” she said.”Our grassroots movement is strong and the new generation is crying out for a bold, united voice to put us back on a forward-looking path. And we can do this come November.”