The two New Jersey gubernatorial candidates, Democratic Senator Barbara Buono and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, had their first debate yesterday evening at William Paterson University. Although they were challenging each other for the governor mansion, the topic of a much higher office kept arising.
The debate began with an acknowledgment of the governors strong lead, with the moderator asking Buono why her campaign hasn’t gained “traction.” The discussion of the governor’s personality ensued, both the humorous and tough talking sides.
Sen. Buono had much to say about Gov. Christie:
Don’t let the glossy magazine covers and the late night wise cracks fool you, there is nothing that’s funny about what is going in New Jersey and there is no amount of YouTube videos or late night shows that will erase that we have 400,000 people out of work. Politics is not supposed to be about entertainment. This is about you, your life and your children. People are just beginning to focus on the race.
When asked directly whether she would like President Obama to come to New Jersey to campaign? Buono took yet another jab at her opponent:
I’m focused on the people of New Jersey. There’s only one person up that’s running for governor here, and you’re looking at her.
When the Republican governor was questioned in regard to running for president, Christie first joked that he “didn’t anticipate” the question at all and then stated:
Listen my mother told me a long time ago, do the job you have at the moment the best you possibly can and the future will take care of itself. The fact is there have been people talking about me running for president since 2010 and they all said I would do it in 2012 and I said I wouldn’t and I didn’t. And the fact is after 2017 I’m going to be looking for another job anyway. I’m going to continue to do my job the best way I possibly can and I am not going to declare tonight. That I am or I am not running for president and you know what? People don’t expect me to, they expect me to do my job.
Buono responded to Christie:
Doesn’t bother me that you are running for president, it bothers me how you are running for president. Cater to the NRA and vetoing funding for Planned Parenthood because the national conservative base of the Republican Party has declared this war on Planned Parenthood. Compromising and sacrificing the dignity of our gay brothers and sisters by vetoing marriage equality because you know that would kill you with Republican presidential primary voters.
Gov. Christie retaliated:
The only person obsessed with 2016 on this stage is Sen. Buono. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can do this job and also deal with my future.
Christie was questioned about his history of calling both constituents and politicians names like “stupid” and “idiot,” is he “sapping the dignity out of the governor’s office.”
No, in fact quite the opposite. What the people of New Jersey want is someone who’s real, and will tell them the truth as he sees it, and that’s what I’ve done for four years. And that’s what I’ve done – told them the truth. Sometimes truth they didn’t necessarily want to hear, but that’s what leadership is about; it’s about telling the truth as you see it. At the end of the day from my perspective I think if people had a choice between pre-packaged, blow dried politicians or people who just say it the way it is I think they would take the latter. Sometimes folks have to know that people who act in a certain way, that they’re going to be called out on it. Here’s what the people of New Jersey all know — I am who I am and I’m not going to change.
Christie and Buono also took on the issue of same-sex marriage. A month ago, Mercer County Superior Court judge Mary Jacobson ruled New Jersey must begin same-sex marriages by October 21 and Gov. Christie states that he plans to appeal that decision.
Governor Chris Christie opposes gay marriage stating:
I believe that the institution of marriage for 2,000 years is between a man and a woman, and if they’re going to change that definition of marriage, I don’t think that should be decided by 121 politicians in Trenton or nine judges on the Supreme Court. If New Jersey residents vote in favor of gay marriage he would support the ruling.
Senator Buono’s disagreed with the governor stating that he is “wrong” and then delved into the matter:
It’s a human right. I mean governor, have a profile in courage and do the right thing for our sons and daughters and our brothers and our sisters. It is a human right, and this really should not be the one on the ballot. We should not have the majority of people deciding the minority’s rights.
It seems that Sen. Buono disagrees on how our country is designed to run. The majority yield to the minority, it is not how America works, and with that one statement Buono gives insight to the inner workings of her office. Buono nonchalantly admits she would ignore her constituents and pursue her own agendas. It seems that New Jersey can see what the senator has in store for them because the polling reflects boldly what New Jersey wants.
Quinnipiac has Christie leading Buono 58 to 30 percent. In Democratic urban areas, Christie 43 to 42 percent, and 30 percent of those who identified themselves as Democrats stated they would choose Christie. Buono leads 57 to 30 percent among Democrats, while Christie leads 91 to 4 percent among Republicans, 66 to 22 percent among independent voters, he leads 62 to 27 percent among men and 56 to 34 percent among women, according to the poll.
Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said:
The big election is still the race between Gov. Christopher Christie and State Sen. Barbara Buono and the governor’s 2-1 lead remains un-dented after months of polling. Sen. Buono is down 3-1 among independent voters and even loses 30 percent of Democratic voters to Christie. There’s no point even counting Republicans.
After months of polling it seems that there is certainly no threat to the governor packing up the statehouse, since his lead has been unchanged throughout the months of polling.