EMILY's List, a Democratic advocacy group aimed at supporting the political campaigns of pro-choice women candidates, announced Monday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) should consider himself "on notice."
In a release, EMILY's List described Christie's lone Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, as a "major Democratic female talent waiting in the wings." The group also said that Christie had been put "on notice" because he'd "amassed appallingly anti-woman, anti-family records."
“Chris Christie’s record is right wing and indefensible,” EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “He’s anti-choice, anti-equal pay, and doles out billions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations while hammering working families with massive cuts to education and healthcare. Christie is a GOP extremist plain and simple, and New Jersey families need to know he’s not on their side."
EMILY's List goes on to attack Christie on 10 points, presented as proof that the governor is "wrong on the issues, and wrong for New Jersey." The points range from criticism of his veto of a budget bill that would have given $7.5 million dollars to family planning organizations, to his notorious use of a state helicopter for personal travel.
Christie's political strategist Mike DuHaime did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He told the Star-Ledger they "always anticipated that partisan big money Washington, D.C., groups would come in to New Jersey in an attempt to distort the governor’s record. The people of New Jersey won’t be fooled by partisan Washington D.C. groups that distort the facts to promote their big-government agendas."
As Talking Points Memo reported Monday, the campaign appears to be the opening salvo in a new effort by New Jersey Democrats to counter polling that has shown high levels of bipartisan support for Christie in the months since superstorm Sandy. Though a survey released last week showed Christie with a record-high 74 percent approval rating, Democrats believe they can chip away at his advantage by reminding voters of his conservative record on a variety of issues.
In an interview with Asbury Park Press published Monday, Buono hinted that she would target Christie on many of the same areas:
[Christie] has turned down tens of millions of dollars in federal funding for women’s health and wants to limit the ability of women to make their own health care decisions. I will fully fund those clinics that provide health care for working class women and believe women should be in control of their health care choices. He refuses to lead by pressuring Congress to enact common-sense gun safety laws. He has vetoed the minimum wage legislation sent to him by the Legislature. I believe that hard work should pay a salary that can support a family. He vetoed marriage equality, the civil rights issue of our time. In the end, I believe that the voters of New Jersey will vote to support my platform on the issues because my proposals are more in line with who we are as a state.
The Democratic primary is set to be held in June, though Buono is currently running unopposed. If no other candidate enters, she'll face Christie in November.
This post has been updated with Mike DuHaime's comments to the Star-Ledger.