New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) reelection campaign was backed by four more Democratic elected officials Monday, bringing the total to 36 statewide.
Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton (D) joined three members of the Spring Lake Borough Council in backing Christie over Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono, PolitickerNJ.com reports. The four Spring Lake officials follow Democratic defections from Buono, who trails Christie by more than 30 percentage points in recent polls.
“Like many other communities up and down the shoreline, Superstorm Sandy brought a wave of destruction here in Spring Lake that left us with a complex and costly recovery," Naughton told PolitickerNJ.com in a statement. "We knew our effort would depend not only on talented local resources, but a strong partner who understood what was at stake. We found that partner in Governor Chris Christie.”
Spring Lake is located in the Republican stronghold of Monmouth County and Christie easily carried the community in when he was first elected in 2009.
Christie has been backed by two of the state's most powerful Democrats, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and state Sen. Brian Stack, in his reelection campaign. DiVincenzo and Stack, who both command powerful voter turnout armies and are popular in their home regions, have been long time Christie allies. A third powerful Democrat, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, has not ruled out backing Christie. Fulop is considered a likely gubernatorial candidate in either 2017 or 2021.
Buono has been backed by one Republican elected official.
The defections come as Buono struggles to hold her party together. After entering the race in December, she endured a month-long campaign by top Democrats to find an alternative. After proposing Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell (D-Bayonne) as her pick for state Democratic Party chairman, a post traditionally made by the party's gubernatorial nominee, she faced an all-out civil war from Democratic leaders. Buono and opposition forces later compromised behind Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie to lead the state party.
Top Democrats hosted a unity breakfast in Buono's honor last month, following the party chairman battle.
Buono's campaign though remained upbeat after the latest defections.
"Anyone supporting Governor Christie believes that his failed economic record of nearly 400,000 people unemployed and 20 percent property tax increases is good enough for New Jersey. It also means they support his self-serving, right-wing views that continue to stand in the way of civil rights," Buono spokesman David Turner told HuffPost in an email. "Come November, a majority of New Jerseyans will support Senator Buono because she is the only candidate willing to fight for all New Jerseyans while Governor Christie only seeks to further his national political ambitions."