State Senator Barbara Buono is the first Democrat to officially say she'll run against Governor Chris Christie next year.

NJSendems.com

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democratic State Committee chairman has officially announced he will not run. Because politics hates a vacuum or a void, most people expect others to primary Buono. One political expert says all eyes are on Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney, former Governor and current State Senator Dick Codey and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald are three high-profile Democrats still on the outside, but they may be looking in.

"Cory Booker has better name recognition than any other Democrat, even better than Richard Codey who is a former Governor," explains Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "Booker's also got a national reputation and he has a national network of fundraisers."

Woolley says Sweeney has more name recognition than most state lawmakers because of his position as Senate President. Codey remains a very popular ex-Governor and Greenwald has strong south Jersey ties., but all three mioght be waiting to hear Booker's decision before announcing their intentions.

"If Booker were to get into the (primary) race he would be the clear favorite," thinks Woolley, "I think he would pretty much suck the air out of the room for all the other candidates."

That doesn't mean Woolley believes other Democrats should lie in wait to see what Booker will do. He says the sooner you get in the race the sooner you can get some name recognition and start raising some money.

Woolley says, "Any Democrat who is thinking about running may as well get in there. What's the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen is Booker gets in and you bow out."