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Gov. Chris Christie has continued to outpace his Democratic opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, in the polls forecasting the outcome of the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election. Buono has slightly narrowed the Republican incumbent’s 24-point leadin recent months but has long been perceived as the underdog in the race for governor.
Christie recently took to the road for a series of high-profile campaign events, including a Sept. 10 visit to a Camden elementary school and an Aug. 22 trip to Hoboken, to receive an endorsement from “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro.
Christie’s campaign did not respond to request for comment.
These pit stops and others on the campaign trail highlight the wide coalition of support that Christie has built throughout his term as governor, which includes key New Jersey Republicans, the Republican National Committee and 48 New Jersey Democrats — dubbed “Christiecrats” by Christie’s campaign — who have endorsed Christie for reelection.
One Democrat who recently backed Christie is Kevin Glover, theMayor of Scotch Plains. According to aChristie campaign press release, Glover said that he was “endorsing Governor Christie today because he is a man of his word who has set aside partisanship to put New Jersey and New Jerseyans first.”
Glover did not respond to request for comment.
Among Republicans who support Christie is David Will ’14, the president of College Republicans. Will said that the College Republicans were planning on devoting most of their Saturdays leading up to the election to canvassing and phone banking activities on Christie's behalf.
Will added that he personally supports Christie for several reasons.
“One, because he's been able to balance the budget in the state year after year without raising taxes, which is very important in a state that's still heavily taxed,” he explained. “He also has been rightly praised [on] both sides of the aisle for how he handled Hurricane Sandy.”
Some Democrats remain supportive of Buono’s campaign, including the members of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, which endorsed Buono in February.
“She’s got a stellar track record in terms of her experience in the legislature,” according to Dan Preston, the former president of PCDO and the vice chair of the Princeton Democratic Committee. “Her positions are just aligned with what any progressive Democrat would want to see.”
Preston said that the PCDO has been involved in canvassing for Buono and will continue its efforts on her behalf until the election.
“We’re gearing up, and we’re going to be pushing very enthusiastically to get her elected,” he said.
In a Sept. 10interview with The Daily Princetonian, Buono said she felt that she was running a grassroots campaign that had the support of Democrats from across the state.
“It’s been a campaign about grassroots, about connecting with voters, about listening to what’s on their mind,” Buono said. “When we talk and they hear my story and they hear my vision for New Jersey’s future, people get excited. They want to get engaged.”
Buono noted that she has traveled to the “far reaches” of New Jersey during the course of the campaign, including a campaign event at a tent city in Lakewood, where she spoke with homeless New Jerseyans.
Buono also said she will soon hold events with “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington, who has endorsed her candidacy.
Despite what she characterizes as grassroots support, Buono lags far behind Christie in fundraising. As of Aug. 21, Christie had raised $4.1 million for the general election campaign, according to filings with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.The Commission announced on Sept. 3 that it would award the governor $7.2 million in public matching funds, bringing Christie’s total campaign funds to more than $11 million.
About $1.5 million of Christie’s funds will go toward television ads that will begin airing this week, according to a Sept. 9article in the Star-Ledger.
Buono said she is still waiting for her Aug. 28 submission of $440,885 in private fundraising to be approved by the Commission for matching funds. The Commission is responsible for monitoring campaign financing in New Jersey, according to its website.Under state law, gubernatorial candidates who raise at least $380,000 may receive $2 in public funds to match every $1 raised from private sources. Matching only applies after the first $122,000 of private contributions.
Despite Buono’s smaller funds, she has made some headway in recent polls. Most major polls show Buono lagging behind Christie by 24 points or more, but Christie’s lead decreased by 10 points between June and August, according to Monmouth polls.