TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono has picked labor leader Milly Silva as her running mate, according to two party officials, making the first all-female ticket in the state.
The officials, one of whom got a call from the candidate on Thursday, spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the campaign. An official announcement is scheduled in East Rutherford on Monday, the deadline for finalizing the ticket.
Silva, who is Hispanic and lives in Montclair, is vice president of SEIU 1199, a private union representing 7,000 low-wage health care and nursing home workers. She helps Buono, who’s white, appeal to another base of voters she needs.
Her selection for the lieutenant governor slot was first reported by PolitickerNJ.com.
Buono spokesman David Turner would not comment.
Buono and Silva will face Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who are white, in the Nov. 5 election.
Silva has appeared with Buono at campaign events, including an anti-foreclosure press conference this month in Newark. The event was at the home of an SEUI member who has been staving off foreclosure for four years. Besides Buono and Silva, the event attracted all four Democrats running to succeed Democratic U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the Senate’s oldest member, who died in June.
Though Silva is politically unknown, her presence on the ticket will help Buono continue her attack on issues that affect women, such as Christie’s refusal to raise the minimum wage or provide state funds to women’s health clinics.
Christie has dominated the race. Public polls show him leading among virtually every demographic group, including women.
Buono, who is accepting public matching funds, has struggled to raise money. Christie, who did not accept public financing for the primary and has not decided whether to do so for the general election, was fundraising in San Francisco on Monday and will be in Pittsburgh on Friday.
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