By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
Barbara Buono told an overflow crowd at the Sheraton Meadowlands this morning that picking a running mate wasn’t easy.
“But after careful consideration, I’ve selected as a running mate someone in whom I supreme confidence, someone who has demonstrated her commitment to the state of New Jersey,” Buono said.
Her campaign says this is only the third all-female gubernatorial ticket in U.S. history.
“I am proud to introduce to you Milly Silva,” Buono said.
Silva is an executive vice president of Service Employees International Local 1199, representing health care workers.
Raised in the Bronx by a single mother from Puerto Rico, she got a scholarship to a prestigious middle school, attended Columbia University and has been an activist and community organizer ever since, with both ACORN and SEIU.
She lives in Montclair with her husband and three children.
And she wasted no time today in performing the traditional running mate’s role of attack dog.
Chris Christie, she said, favors the wealthy over the working class, has done nothing on gun control and is holding back gay marriage.
“We live in a New Jersey where whatever Chris Christie says goes. That’s not a leader, that’s a bully,” Silva said.
She linked him with Republicans opposed to immigration reform.
“On the issues that most affect Latinos, Chris Christie has failed. On the issues that most affect African-Americans, Chris Christie has failed. On the issues that most affect women, Chris Christie has failed,” Silva said.
The Christie campaign says, Buono “has chosen an activist from a well-funded labor union who is wholly unqualified with no experience in government or public service.”
When asked what he thought of Buono picking Silva as her running mate, Sen. Dick Codey said, “I think it was brilliant. She brings a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of workers, she brings money. And if you think about it, this is the mosaic of the new New Jersey.”
“At the end of the day, Barbara Buono knows that there is no pick you can make that will help you move the needle really,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “A lieutenant governor can’t do that unless you pick somebody who is independently wealthy and was willing to spend all their money on this campaign. So she picked somebody who can help make sure that the base is there.”
There was more energy in the room today than at any Buono event we’ve seen since her kickoff six months ago. Democrats hope the Milly Silva pick brings more energy and especially money to the campaign as a whole.