By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
Barbara Buono visited her cousin Jimmy’s deli in Little Falls this afternoon. Jimmy says he knew years ago she was going places.
“I’ve been telling my cousin for years that she was gonna be governor of New Jersey,” Jimmy said. “I used to tell you all the time. … Because she has what it takes.”
Outside her cousin’s small business, the candidate Buono accused Gov. Chris Christie of neglecting small business.
“They’re getting nothing with this administration. Small businesses are being left behind, they’re left in the dust,” Buono said.
She promised more access to capital for small business and better service from state government.
In the morning, she was in South Brunswick, being endorsed by the New Jersey Superior Officers Association, a 400-member group of police agencies attached to state government departments like Human Services.
“She can address some of the problems that we have experienced as state workers with Gov. Christie in his attempt to gut the civil service system and to raid our pension systems,” President of NJ Superior Officers Association Jeff Smith said.
Buono noted this group endorsed Christie in 2009, when he promised not to touch their pensions.
She also delivered familiar themes in new language.
“We have the highest unemployment in the region for every year this governor’s been in office. Why? Because of his trickle down supply side Mitt Romney economics in a fleece,” Buono said.
“We really take offense to how he has vilified public employees,” Smith said.
Only three reporters were in attendance.
At a United Federation of Teachers retiree luncheon in nearby Monroe Township, I was the only reporter.
Buono delivered her stump speech and I asked her about Christie’s not holding a press conference in over a month.
“I can only assume his handlers are trying to keep him from saying something that’s not pre-packaged because we know from the past that when the governor speaks of the cuff he speaks the truth and it usually gets him into trouble,” she said.
Only three reporters showed up at Buono’s deli, as well.
When asked what she think will happen on Election Day, Jimmy Buono said, “I think my cousin’s going to be the next governor of New Jersey, that’s what I think. There you go, I don’t believe polls.”
In the 2009 campaign, Chris Christie made a point of stressing his Jersey roots because then-Gov. Jon Corzine grew up on a farm in Illinois. Four years later, Barbara Buono is making sure, despite whatever other advantages Christie may have, he can’t say she’s not a Jersey Girl.