Through ties both personal and professional, Christie and Buono connect to Princeton
While Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey State Sen. Barbara Buono seek to emphasize their differences in the run-up to the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election, they have at least one thing in common: Both are closely connected to the Princeton area, and, in Christie’s case, to the University.
As governor, a role which entitles him to an ex-officio seat on the University’s Board of Trustees, Christie has supported the University’s efforts on the Arts & Transit Neighborhood, according to Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee ’69.
“When we presented [the Arts & Transit] project to the community, we had a very strong statement of endorsement from him,” he explained. “[He] appreciated the importance of that project for the state and particularly for this region."
Christie has also appreciated the University’s efforts to further economic development in the state of New Jersey, Durkee said. He added that Christie comes to and participates actively in the meetings that he is able to attend.
“I would say that Governor Christie has been actively involved. His schedule is such that he certainly can’t make every meeting, but he makes meetings when he can,”Durkee said, noting Christie’s presence at the special meeting on April 21 when Christopher Eisgruber ’83 was elected as the University’s 20th president.
That week, Christie also spent time on campus watching his son Andrew Christie ’16, who is a catcher for the University’s baseball team, play in the team’s game against Columbia.
“He loves the team, and he loves the school,” Christie said of his son in an interview with The Daily Princetonian during his visit. “So it’s been a great first year.”
Christie, who said at the time that he had been attentively following his son’s first season, analyzed the Tigers’ biggest challenges.
“It all comes down to defense for this team,” he said. “It’s about getting timely hits, but it really comes down to defense.”
Christie also showed his support for Princeton by wearing a Princeton polo shirt during an Aug. 25 visit to Long Branch, N.J., according to The Star-Ledger.
When Christie was asked about his choice of attire, he told The Star-Ledger that he was getting ready to pay his son’s tuition.
“My son is a sophomore at Princeton, and I have to send the tuition checks there, so I send the tuition money and I get a shirt,” Christie said to a small crowd at the event. “It's the most expensive damn shirt I've ever gotten in my life.”
Meanwhile, State Sen. Buono also spends some of her free time in Princeton.
“I’m a runner, and can I tell you, my favorite place to run that I’ve ever run is in Princeton on the towpath,” Buono said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian.
Buono explained that she used to stop in Princeton to run on the towpath on her way to and from the State House in Trenton.
“I have had some amazing experiences on that path, especially if you do it really early in the morning or at dusk,” Buono said, recounting the times that she saw a deer running alongside her or a bald-headed eagle in the tree. “It’s a beautiful refuge, and I love it.”
Buono said that she resided in Princeton for a year after completing law school and while working as a law clerk in the New Brunswick Superior Court. She rented a house from a professor who was on sabbatical.
Though Buono now lives in Metuchen, she said that she still knows people who live in Princeton. “I have a lot of friends at Princeton, that live in Princeton,” Buono said.
Buono’s candidacy has support from various groups in Princeton, including the College Democrats and the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.
PCDO president Jon Durbin declined to be interviewed for this article.
“We think she’s a strong candidate who would take New Jersey back in the right direction after what has been four years of Christie that have not been as good for New Jersey as they could and should have been,” Will Mantell ’14, the president of College Democrats, said of Buono.
Mantell added that the College Democrats would be doing canvassing and phone banking on behalf of both Buono and Senatorial candidate Cory Booker, who recently made a campaign stop in Princeton with Rep. Rush Holt.
Christie’s candidacy has also received support from members of the Princeton community, including the College Republicans.
"This past Saturday, College Republicans members fanned out across New Jersey to campaign for Governor Christie's reelection," College Republicans president David Will '14 said. "We had a few members [...] over to the Hamilton office, and still more of us went up north to an office in Flemington. And at both locations, we were making phone calls and going door-to-door on behalf of the campaign."
Will is also a columnist for The Daily Princetonian.
He added that the group plans to spend more Saturdays and a portion of Fall Break campaigning for Christie's reelection.
In a recent pollconducted by Richard Stockton College from Sept. 15 to Sept. 21, 55.4 percent of respondents said they would support Christie in the Nov. 5 election, while 31.8 percent said they would support Buono.