Some very high profile Democratic power brokers are still not going all-in for their candidate against Gov. Chris Christie, which could be part of the reason why roughly three out of four New Jerseyans still don't know who State Sen. Barbara Buono is.


Christie's approval numbers remain sky-high and even some Democratic mayors have publicly endorsed the Republican governor. One veteran political pundit says even though leaders in her own party don't seem to be helping Buono much, she still has a shot.

"What she needs to do is cross her fingers and hope that Chris Christie makes a big mistake and that's not far fetched in American politics," says Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "People do make mistakes. I think the biggest mistake you can make as a candidate is take an election for granted, to give people the impression that you think they owe you the job."

It is fundraising mode for Buono right now says Woolley and that's important.

Can She Topple Christie?

He says the senator has to get her name out there and stay relevant through Labor day when the campaign becomes the only real game in town. Woolley says if Buono can show Democratic bosses that she has a chance to topple Christie they will spend money to help her do that. The support of powerful people within her own party wouldn't necessarily translate to success.

"The endorsement of a President for (former Governor) Jon Corzine didn't help him and it's probably not going to help Barbara Buono either," says Woolley. "One of the brilliant things about Chris Christie's politics so far is that he's been able to reach out and make Democrats his allies in many corners of the state."

There are 700,000 more registered Democratic voters than there are Republicans in the Garden State so Buono does have a built-in advantage. Woolley says if Buono gets enough money in her coffers she can mount a significant advertising campaign to get some name recognition.

"There's no doubt that Barbara Buono has an uphill fight without the leaders in her own Party fully behind her," says Woolley. "There's still that possibility that she'll have an issue or two pick on in October and that's when it really counts."