DGA so far a bit player in Gov.’s race

In February, when hopes were high for a competitive gubernatorial contest in New Jersey, the Democratic Governor’s Association pledged its assisatnce to Democratic challenger Barbara Buono.

With just two gubernatorial races in the country, it seemed likely that both the DGA and its Republican counterpart would be major players in the New Jersey contest.

But since that time, only one has come through with the support expected and Buono has not been the recipient.

The Republican Governors Association has so far spent $1.7 million in support of New Jersey’s governor, a little under a quarter of what it spent aiding Christie in 2009.

But to date, the Democratic Governors Association has given no such aid to Buono, though unseating Christie, or even dinging him with a closer than expected race, would be a huge victory for the DGA.

Even the websites of the respective organizations show the disparity in support for their candidates.  A quick look at the DGA site shows just one mention of the New Jersey race while the Virginia governor’s race occupies the center of the page.

That is a far cry from February in the nascent stages of the governor’s campaign when Buono’s face was front and center on the group’s home page.

“I think we have huge confidence in Barbara Buono’s ability to convince the people of New Jersey that she’s the candidate that’s going to take that state forward,” Chairman Peter Shumlin told the Star Ledger at the time. “She’ll create jobs. She’ll grow prosperity and she’ll get New Jersey out of the mess that they’re in.”

Shumlin pledged support for Buono back then, though at the time he declined to give an exact amount.

By contrast, the RGA homepage features Christie prominently in a video from MSNBC. (Christie is vice chairman of the organization) and as of June 24 had spent $1.7 million on ads supporting the governor. In 2009, when Christie squared off against Democrat Jon Corzine, the RGA spent $7.5 million in support of candidate Christie, while the DGA shelled out $3.3 million to support the incumbent.

A spokesman for the DGA did not return an email asking if the organization planned greater support for Buono in the future, but a spokesman for the Buono campaign lauded the DGA for its efforts.

“The DGA has been vital in providing strategic counsel and resources to our campaign,” said David Turner, a spokesman for the campaign. “They continue to help us contrast Governor Christie’s far-right views on marriage equality and women’s health with Senator Buono’s strong leadership in both areas. We know that they are committed to beating a Governor who cares more about his personal ambitions rather than creating jobs for the nearly 400,000 people still looking for work or reducing property taxes for middle class New Jerseyans.”

  DGA so far a bit player in Gov.’s race