Possible Democratic gubernatorial candidates in 2013, recognizing Christie’s overwhelming victory at the jersey shore, looked to make inroads in the shore county this weekend. Among the attendees at the Monmouth County Democrats’ Annual Picnic this past weekend was Senate President Steve Sweeney, who was scheduled to be the featured speaker. According to sources, Sweeney was more than a little surprised to see Majority Leader Barbara Buona also at the soiree.
According to a Democratic source, Buono made an unscheduled, surprise visit to the picnic and worked the crowd. She addressed the audience telling attendees that Monmouth and Middlesex Counties were Central Jersey and not South Jersey, and as a neighbor, she looked forward to aggressively supporting Democrats in Monmouth County. Sweeney spoke after Buono left, talking about his roots as an Ironworker and Monmouth County’s ties to organized labor. Neither senator offered any criticism of Governor Chris Christie, who still remains popular in the county. Sources say that Buono attended as a last minute guest of Monmouth County Democrats Finance Chairman Vin Gopal.
In 2009, Gov. Jon Corzine carried just 30% of the vote against Republican Chris Christie in Monmouth County, New Jersey’s 4th largest. Corzine won 4 out of the county’s 53 municipalities, narrowly winning Long Branch by under 200 votes along with Asbury Park, Roosevelt and Neptune. His coattails had devastating effects for local Democrats, who lost local races in nearly every town, giving a council seat to Republicans in Freehold Borough for the first time in decades and ultimately forcing Democrats to lose control of the freeholder board. Corzine’s relationship with county Democrats soured back in 2005 when Corzine tried unsuccessfully to force County Democrat Chairman Victor Scudiery’s resignation. The relationship reportedly never healed.