Buono's candidacy gains attention in NJ gov's race

New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono, center, D-Edison, talks with Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, D-South Plainfield, as Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, in Trenton, N.J. Buono has announced that she will challenge the first-term Republican governor in November. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

January 18, 2013 12:48:28 PM PST
Sen. Barbara Buono's campaign for New Jersey governor gained attention with a major endorsement and a tentative blessing from the state's most influential Democrat.

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.