By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — It seems that Democratic Party leaders in New Jersey are abandoning their hopes of finding a more popular politician to take on incumbent governor Chris Christie, and are now coalescing around the only announced candidate.
One by one, the others who said they were thinking about a run against the popular governor have bowed out. Among the last was state senate president Steve Sweeney (see related story), who would have had to abandon his own re-election bid to run for governor.
But Rider University political analyst Ben Dworkin believes there is still the party’s majority in the legislature to protect.
“Democrats are going to focus especially on those legislative races,” he says, “but in order to do that effectively they need a strong candidate at the top of the ticket.”
And Dworkin suggests that Central Jersey state senator Barbara Buono, the one announced candidate (see related story), could fit the bill, in part because she may appeal more to a major swing factor in statewide elections: suburban women.
Dworkin also believes Christie’s sky-high approval ratings will come back down, to just over 50 percent, by the fall.