Dems Criticize Christie at Orange Press Conference

By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
NJ Today

Barbara Buono’s reaction to the governor this morning dropping his challenge to same-sex marriage is that he didn’t have a choice if you read Friday’s Supreme Court opinion.

“A, it was unanimous. So Anne Patterson, Associate Justice, Christie’s nominee? It was unanimous. And it was unequivocal saying, ‘Governor, it’s a slam dunk. You don’t have a chance on the merits of this case.’ He had no choice,” Buono said. “I’m comparing it to one of my children when I try and get them to eat broccoli and they go, ‘Ugh, do I have to?’ That’s exactly what happened.”

Buono’s comments came at a press conference in front of the municipal building in the city of Orange.

Orange is a struggling town, largely African-American, in the heart of Essex County.

Fifteen elected officials from Orange, East Orange, Irvington and Newark stood with Buono today.

“We’re basically here to stand up for someone who’s gonna stand up for us,” Bilal Beasely, Irvington County President, said.

Buono said she was born in Newark, has family roots in East Orange and understands city residents want good schools and less gun violence.

“Gun violence has really got to be seen as the surface at the end of a long road, and that road is lined with unemployment, homelessness, helplessness and lack of opportunity,” Buono said.

“Barbara is someone who understands the plight of the urban community,” said East Orange Council President Quilla Talmadge.

State Sen. Ron Rice of Newark is head of the legislature’s black caucus and strongly anti-Christie.

“There are three or four black people that have identified in your media they support this governor. They do not speak for us. We know who they are, what the relationships are,” Senator Ron Rice said.

Buono and others dismissed the current poll numbers.

“Anything is possible. New Jersey is a Democratic state,” said Newark Councilwoman Mildred Crump.

“I know there are those who think this election is over because it’s two weeks out. But if you know New Jersey, you know we’re just beginning,” Buono said.

This weekend, her first television commercial started running.

“Chris Christie better not count his chickens before they hatch,” Buono said.

One person not here was the Democratic mayor of Orange, who has endorsed Christie. Sen. Rice says Democrats who’ve turned their backs on Buono have either been bought off by Christie with money for their towns or are just plain intimidated by him.