Monmouth County Democrats hoped to break the party's logjam over picking a gubernatorial candidate by endorsing the 59-year-old Metuchen resident.
County organization Chairman Vin Gopal says Buono is the only major Democrat so far with the courage to challenge Gov. Chris Christie in the November election.
Meanwhile, Democratic power broker George Norcross III told Politickernj.com that the party should rally around Buono in the absence of another candidate.
Norcross told the Web site he doesn't think former Gov. Dick Codey has the courage to run.
Christie, whose approval ratings soared after Hurricane Sandy, will be heavily favored to win re-election against any Democrat.