The first woman to serve as majority leader of the New Jersey state Senate is planning to announce her candidacy against Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the 2013 governor's race Tuesday.
State Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen) is set to become the first Democrat to enter the governor's race, informing Democratic Party officials statewide Monday evening of her decision, PolitickerNJ.com reports. Buono's announcement comes as Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who is viewed as the Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner, is still mulling entering the governor's race. Booker told CBS's "Face The Nation" on Sunday that he'll decide within two weeks whether he'll run for governor or enter the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Buono's move comes as polls show Christie with a 72 percent approval rating following his handling of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Jersey Shore and left much of the state without power for two weeks. A poll shows Christie receiving 53 percent of the vote in a head-to-head race with Booker.
Buono has been setting the stage for a gubernatorial campaign in recent weeks, including commissioning a statewide poll of her chances against Booker in a primary, advertising for a campaign manager and attending last month's meeting of the Democratic Governors Association. Buono was ousted as majority leader in 2011 due to her clashes with state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) over a series of issues, including pension and benefits reform, which was pushed by Christie. Sweeney told The Huffington Post last week that he is considering entering the 2013 gubernatorial race.
Buono was elected to a Middlesex County Senate seat in 2001 following seven years as a state assemblywoman. In addition to the majority leader's post, she is the first woman to chair the Senate Budget and Appropriatins Committee. She has also chaired the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and the Legislative Oversight Committee. Prior to joining the state legislature, she was a councilwoman and police commissioner in Metuchen, N.J.
Buono's candidacy comes as New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan is set to become the only Democratic woman governor in the country next year. Republican Christie Whitman, who left office in 2001, is the only woman to serve as New Jersey governor and to be a major party nominee for the office. Former Princeton Mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund is the last Democratic woman to seek the New Jersey governorship in her 1989 primary run.
In addition to Buono, Sweeney and Booker, state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage (D) are considered potential gubernatorial candidates. Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) announced he would not run for governor on Monday.
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"It's Not My Time" (3 Doors Down)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/chris-christie-2012-decision-_n_993910.html" target="_hplink">(Oct. 4, 2011) --</a></strong> Christie announced that he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, vowing that "now is not my time." He quipped to New Jersey residents "whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."
"Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chris-christie-mitt-romney_n_1005601.html" target="_hplink"><strong>LEBANON, N.H. (Oct. 11, 2011) --</strong></a> After dismissing calls to run for president himself, Christie endorsed Romney, telling the GOP that he is the candidate we need now.
"How Do I Live" (LeAnn Rimes)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/chris-christie-town-hall_n_1133756.html" target="_hplink">WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2011) --</a></strong> At a local town hall, Christie did not take kindly to a <a href="http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2011/12/video_chris_christie_asked_if.html" target="_hplink">constituent's question</a> about how his administration conducts these types of meetings. He showed the individual little mercy, going "if I plant questions, why the hell did I call on you?"
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (Elton John)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/chris-christie-mic-checked-occupy-wall-street_n_1136762.html" target="_hplink">(Dec. 8, 2011) --</a></strong> Occupy Wall Street protesters interrupted Christie during an appearance in Iowa, making him a target of the movement's "mic check" trend.
"Shut Up" (The Black Eyed Peas)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/chris-christie-warren-buffett_n_1294579.html" target="_hplink">(Feb. 21, 2012) --</a></strong> In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Christie had some choice words for Warren Buffett, surrounding the billionaire investor's desire to be taxed at a higher rate. "Just write a check and shut up," he remarked.
"American Idiot" (Green Day)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/christie-argues-with-veteran_n_1334963.html" target="_hplink">(March 9, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie argued with a former Navy SEAL over the New Jersey's plans to reconfigure public universities. The result? Some fire from the governor's tongue, as he called the veteran an "idiot."
"Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/chris-christie-talks-vp-p_n_1423271.html" target="_hplink">(April 13, 2012) --</a></strong> Throughout Mitt Romney's run for the White House, Christie made it known that he was open to a vice presidential nod (should Romney ask him).
"Rocky Ground" (Bruce Springsteen)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/chris-christie-sleeping-bruce-springsteen-_n_1438337.html" target="_hplink">(April 19, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie vehemently denied reports that he was sleeping at a Bruce Springsteen concert in New York City. <em><strong>
"I Don't Really Care" (Waka Flocka Flame)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/chris-christie-jimmy-kimmel_n_1465608.html" target="_hplink">(April 30, 2012) --</a> Christie responded to jokes comedian Jimmy Kimmel made about his weight at the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner, throwing Sofia Vergara into the mix. "I figured I was in the zone of danger," he said.
"Ready Or Not" (The Fugees)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/chris-christie-gop-keynote-convention_n_1774525.html" target="_hplink">(Aug. 14, 2012) --</a></strong> After entertaining the idea of running for president and making Mitt Romney's short list of VP candidates, Christie was named the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," he told <em>USA Today</em>.