Buono Calls Christie’s Move for Special Election ‘Cynical’

The legal challenge to Gov. Chris Christie’s call for a special general election to be held on Oct. 1 to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg is ongoing. This morning, the plaintiffs filed a brief in the state Supreme Court to appeal an appellate division’s ruling on their objection to Gov. Chris Christie’s scheduling of the U.S. Senate special election.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono has spoken out against the governor’s decision to hold a special election 20 days before the general election. She told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider, the motives behind the governor’s decision were purely political.

“Historically, we know people do not turn out for special elections,” Buono said. “So this is a governor who made a cynical move, a dishonest move. Some think that it doesn’t even make any fiscal sense.”

Buono says the move is designed to depress voter turnout because most voters will not be aware that an election is being held. She adds that the logistics of holding an election so close before the general election adds an undue burden on county clerks.

“One of the clerks from Mercer County [testified] how logistically speaking this was impossible how you have to impound the voting machines for 15 days and then there’s a period where you have to deliver the voting machines for the next election,” she said.

Buono says that she is in favor of any solution that would ensure the maximum amount of voter participation in an election.

“People are used to having it on a Tuesday, they’re used to having it on the general election or on the primary,” Buono said.. “There are 400,000 people out of work, they can’t make ends me, they can’t pay their property taxes which are the highest they’ve ever been … they can’t focus on having an additional election.”

When asked about all the Democrats, including Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, endorsing Christie, Buono says that by doing so they are endorsing all of the governor’s policies.

“You are by definition embracing his veto of the minimum wage tying it to a cost of living, embrac[ing]his veto of marriage equality, you have to embrace this governor refusing to take federal funding for women’s health,” she cited as examples.

While she refrained from calling those Democrats “traitors” as others in the Democratic party have done, she does question whether they are in fact Democrats.

“You just can’t select because this is a governor who may have sent funding to your municipality,” said Buono. “I think that you have to ask them whether or not they embrace Democratic principles.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney has recently publicly endorsed Buono for governor. The two were in a very public spat over Buono’s selection of Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell to lead the party, with Sweeney voicing his displeasure over the pick. But since the announcement that John Currie would be the party’s new chairman, Buono says that that’s all water under the bridge and the Democrats have come together.

“I am focused on the future. The future of New Jersey relies on a strong Democratic party that will stand up for the middle class and the working poor, a party that doesn’t turn their back, doesn’t veto a minimum wage tied to a cost of living increase,” said Buono.

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