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Buono Kicks Off Campaign For Governor

Democrats have come out in force to support their default candidate for governor — state Sen. Barbara Buono.

The Metuchen lawmaker officially kicked off her campaign Saturday with a rally in New Brunswick.

The 59-year-old  liberal is the presumptive nominee to face Gov. Chris Christie in November. Buono says she’ll fight for the middle-class and working poor forgotten during the Christie administration.

“The hardworking men and women who’ve been unemployed or underemployed for years, and who’ve gotten nothing – nothing — but sound bites and empty promises from a governor who seems more intent on courting his right-wing base than tending to the needs of the middle-class and working poor,” she said according to the Star Ledger.

The 50-year-old Republican governor remains enormously popular and has drawn much praise for his actions in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the state in late October. He’ll also have a huge funding edge in the election.

But Buono says the state’s high unemployment and property taxes existed “before the winds ever gusted or the ocean ever rose beyond our shores.”

State Senator Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Congressman Pallone were on hand at the rally at New Brunswick High School. Newark Mayor Cory Booker tweeted his followers information about the rally but could not attend as he was in Los Angeles for an appearance on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, a commitment his people said Booker made before the Buono rally was scheduled reports the Star Ledger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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