Buono: Christie puts ambitions before NJ's needs

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - November 4, 2013

"We are Republicans in New Jersey," the GOP governor said while addressing energized supporters inside his packed Monmouth County headquarters. "You have to work and earn every vote you get in this state as a Republican. We're a minority party in this state."

At the same time, Christie sought to downplay expectations for Tuesday's contest as polls suggest he has big leads over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Christie defined success for himself simply as earning at least 50 percent of the vote, noting that he would be the first New Jersey Republican to do so in a statewide election since George W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign.

Buono, meanwhile, said that Christie's presidential ambitions are getting in the way of what's best for New Jersey.

In an interview on MSNBC, Buono said that the governor is making decisions based on how voters will react in early presidential primary states. For example, the Democrat said Christie vetoed a ban on .50-caliber assault rifles after receiving a warning from "pro-gun New Hampshire."

Christie said the ban went too far and would have restricted lawful recreation.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez joined Christie on a daylong bus tour as he seeks a second term in what many consider a run-up to a presidential bid. With a big win, Christie is also trying to show a divided national Republican Party that it's possible to succeed by promoting compromise and bipartisanship.

"When he became governor of a blue state, it was amazing because we knew we could do it all over the country," Martinez said of Christie's first win.

Buono planned a Monday evening rally in Union Township.

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