On Election’s Eve, Buono Feels Surge Despite Poll Numbers

By David Cruz

On Election Day eve, Barbara Buono showed no signs of fatigue or regret as she headlined a get out the vote rally in Bergen County.

“This is a governor who has left New Jersey behind. He’s left the middle class, the working poor, our children, our teachers. He’s left us all behind,” Buono told a group of Bergen County Democrats. “Well, you know what I think? I think on Nov. 5, we ought to return the favor.”

With the latest polls showing their standard bearer anywhere from 20 to 30 points behind, Democrats were insisting that there’s plenty of fight left at the top of their ticket.

“Clearly the governor is winning in the polls and clearly he has created a brand for himself and clearly he is moving ahead, having run a very aggressive campaign with a lot of money and I give him credit for that,” said Sen. Paul Sarlo. “But, at the end of the day, it’s way too early to tell.”

Buono continued to take her shots at Gov. Chris Christie, alternately calling him a prima donna for his supposed extravagant hotel and accommodation requests to the Romney campaign last year, and a bully, after his supposed shouting match with a teacher at one of his campaign stops this weekend.

“You know it doesn’t matter; you could be a veteran, you could be a teacher. This time it was a teacher,” she said. “But as soon as somebody calls him out on his behavior and on his policies, all of a sudden, that person’s the angry, that person’s the wrong one. This governor has a limitless supply of hypocrisy.”

The Democratic lawmakers said they were still focused on maintaining their majorities in the Assembly and the Senate but weren’t ready to throw in the towel on the governor’s race, just yet, insisting that true Democrats would return to the fold for Buono tomorrow.

We asked Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle if she thought Buono was treated unfairly.

“I believe she was,” she replied. “I don’t think it’s a secret that a lot of bosses in the party reached across the aisle to do business and as Barbara said it herself. It’s almost like the Boardwalk Empire. It sort of resonates, that perception.”

Sen. Bob Gordon — a Christie target this campaign season — says he’s not ready to assess blame or do a post-mortem.

“The margin is shrinking considerably and I think there’s going to be a last-minute shift in momentum from many undecided people,” Gordon said. “We’ve seen in our polling, a large number of people, undecided. And I think at the end of the day, they’re going to realize who’s best for them and they’re going to vote for Barbara.”

The Democrats insist that if the governor has any coattails, they are very short. As for the top of the ticket, they say it’s a little too early to make an assessment about that. Said one Democrat, there will be plenty of time for Monday morning quarterbacking — on Wednesday.