New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to unveil the first commercial of his reelection campaign Wednesday in an ad buy worth more than what his Democratic opponent has raised.
Christie's campaign is planning to spend $1.5 million to air a 60-second ad on broadcast and cable stations statewide, National Journal reported. The ad comes as Christie (R) maintains a 32-point lead over state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen), the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Buono is racing to raise enough to meet the state's requirements for maximum matching funds before the June primary. Buono raised $700,000 to date and received $800,000 in matching funds, PolitickerNJ reports. She would need to raise another $1.3 million for the maximum match. No major party gubernatorial nominee has failed to meet the maximum before the primary. Christie opted out of receiving matching funds.
Statewide races in New Jersey are among the most expensive in the country; candidates are forced to compete in both the New York and Philadelphia television markets, along with cable stations statewide. Buono has yet to go on air, but One New Jersey, an independent group has spent $1 million on two statewide ads attacking Christie's record.
Christie's ad buy comes as the one-term incumbent shifts into campaign mode, assembling a campaign staff and opening headquarters in the Republican bastion of Bridgewater. Buono's campaign declined to comment on the ad.
Buono, a former state Senate majority leader, continues to face a series of internal struggles within the party. Among these are resistance by some Democrats to her pick for state party chairman and a lack of unity among party leaders behind her candidacy. Buono has picked up enthusiastic support in recent weeks, though, from Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), a 2014 U.S. Senate candidate, and popular former Gov. Dick Codey, now a state senator, who have been campaigning with her around the state.
Buono this week had to change the settings on her campaign's Facebook page after a series of Christie supporters kept posting pro-Christie messages on the page. The report came after Buono's "likes" on Facebook surged ahead of Christie's, but apparently they were largely from pro-Christie individuals.