By David Cruz
In contrast to her big, boisterous opponent, Barbara Buono is petite and comparatively quiet. She arrives at her events usually on her own and with little fanfare, unlike her opponent who can be a glad-handing life of the party, attracting all the attention. On most issues, Buono is still closest to New Jersey voters, as she was today when talking about today’s state Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
“You know, the governor needs to step aside,” she said after the court rejected Gov. Chris Christie’s motion for a stay on towns issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “He’s on the wrong side of history. He’s been on the wrong side of history for a while and he needs to just let it go.”
But Buono continues to trail by more than 20 points in most polls. Today in Trenton, she was joined by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who picked up the Buono ball of Christie bashing like a total Jersey Democrat.
“Look, there’s an expression that if you can’t govern, you sure as hell better entertain,” said the Maryland governor and potential future presidential candidate. “Well, your governor’s been entertaining now for four years, and he’s a great entertainer.”
Today, Buono tried to focus attention on small businesses and how they have struggled in urban areas like Trenton, which salon owner Betty Young said Christie had abandoned in favor of his Stronger Than The Storm Strategy.
“Those of us attempting to make a living in small businesses in Trenton have been in a storm, also, and while there’s no rain and no trees being uprooted, we are definitely in an economic storm,” said Young. “We’ve been in a storm for several years now.”
The fact that Buono still lags behind in most polls and shows little sign of gaining momentum is a source of frustration for her and a confirmation for some of her fellow Democrats — like the Essex County executive — that they are backing the right horse. Today’s event attracted an audience of like-minded and almost passionate supporters. But on a Friday, after 3 o’clock, nary a handful of reporters were there to record it.
Like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest, the Buono campaign certainly makes a sound. The question is, is there anyone around to hear it?