Former New Jersey Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey has ended political speculation today, Jan. 25, 2013, when he told the Newark Star Ledger that he will not run for the office of Governor against incumbent Chris Christie.
Codey had gone to Washington this week to confer with the national democratic leadership and has decided to sit this one out, which leaves Senator Barbara Buono as the only one challenging Christie. The party favorite was Newark Mayor Corey Booker who announced that he will run for U. S. Senator. The only other potential candidate that is rumored to be in the hunt is State Senate President Steven Sweeney, who has been quiet on his intentions.
Codey was the only serious threat to Buono, as polls had given him a slight edge over Buono and Sweeney polls behind Buono. This leaves the party in a very interesting position as time is ticking away and it is precious time at that.
In making his announcement Codey said “after talking with my family, friends and other advisors and weighing the impact of a campaign on my family life, I have decided not to seek the nomination. I want to thank my friends and supporters throughout the state who encouraged me to run and provided counsel during this process.” Codey added “I will enthusiastically back whoever the nominee is and do all that I can in support. As a senator and governor, I have been a voice for many voiceless New Jerseyans. I will continue to serve in Trenton and seek re-election."
Buono issued a press release on Codey’s announcement praising him for his service to New Jersey. “Governor Codey’s life has been defined by his strong affinity for public service. As an Assemblyman, as a Senator, and as Governor, he has led the charge in the fight for New Jersey’s middle class taxpayers. Governor Codey’s legacy has always been that of someone willing to take on those tough fights with grace and humility and I am proud to have served with him in the Senate just as I am proud to call him a friend.”
The move by Codey prompted Senator Joseph Vitale from Middlesex calling on fellow democrats to line up behind Buono and support her candidacy. “With Governor Codey's decision today, New Jersey Democrats should come together on behalf of Barbara Buono’s candidacy for governor,” Vitale said. “She knows the struggles of working New Jerseyans because she’s lived them. Barbara’s humble beginnings in Nutley taught her the value of hard work and the resilience to make it through tough times. She worked her way through college and law school, and knows the challenges facing working mothers juggling jobs and family. Senator Buono is a leader who will put working families first."
Vitale is not the only one who recognizes the sense of urgency in the party, Senator Bob Smith, also of Middlesex stated “every day without a clear Democratic nominee is a day wasted. Barbara’s the fighter New Jersey Democrats need to go toe-to-toe with Governor Christie.”
"Whether it’s putting jobs for working families ahead of tax cuts for millionaires, protecting funding for Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose, or protecting New Jersey's environment, Barbara can draw sharp contrasts with this Governor’s failed record and misguided priorities,” Smith said.
The pieces of the Democratic Party puzzle are starting to take shape, regardless of who ends up being the nominee, they will have a large bridge to gap with Christie's popularity and high poll numbers. The election is 10 months away and no matter how high Christie's numbers are, remember this is New Jersey, where anything can happen and usually does.