Are NJ Democrats Throwing In The Towel This Year? [AUDIO]
And then there was one. State Senator Barbara Buono is the sole Democrat to declare that she's running against Governor Chris Christie this November.
Many insiders feel the Governor's shy-high approval numbers mean Buono is little more than a sacrificial lamb, but one political expert advises everyone to never count a Democrat out in the Garden State.
"It's an outside chance, but because she's (Buono) a mainstream Democrat I think that she will be able to keep it close," says Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. "There are three major reasons why Democrats led by Barbara Buono can keep this election close and if it's close anything can happen."
Dworkin explains, "The Governor's high approval ratings are really a function of the aftermath of super-storm Sandy and they will get down to more normal levels where he has been hovering for the last few years which is about 53-54% percent approvals. Not at 70%. If he's at 53-54% and the Democrat, presumabley Buono is at 47% then you can keep it close."
Public financing also helps Buono says Dworkin. He points out that as a candidate, Christie used public financing in 2009 when he was challenging multi-millionaire incumbent Jon Corzine who was ready to self-fund. Dworkin explains, "You don't have to outspend to win. Chris Christie proved that, but you need enough money to get your message out and New Jersey has a system that allows that."
It also comes down to sheer numbers in Dworkin's opinion. He says, "There are just a lot more Democrats in the State of New Jersey than there are Republicans. 700,000 more registered Democrats."
Dworkin thinks Buono must avoid a costly primary too and she'll have to make up serious ground in the polls.
Last week's Quinnipiac University survey showed Buono trails Christie 63%-22% in a hypothetical match-up which now seems like the likely match-up.