Christie’s First Democratic Challenger Announces Her Candidacy

And it isn’t Cory Booker. State Senator Barbara Buono, a progressive candidate, says she’s filed her papers to run for New Jersey governor.

N.J. state Senator Barbara Buono announces her bid for governor in a YouTube video. Via youtube.com

While the political class makes guesses about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s potential run for governor — or Senate — progressive state Senator Barbara Buono announced her candidacy for the 2013 race in a YouTube video Tuesday morning.

Buono has long been an expected challenger to incumbent Governor Chris Christie. She attended to the annual meeting of the Democratic Governors Association in California last week, shortly after a job posting appeared online from one of her staffers — “A progressive Democratic gubernatorial candidate is seeking an experienced campaign manager for an aggressive campaign plan,” read the posting.

“Today I want you to be the first to know that I’m running for governor,” Buono says in the video. “I filed my papers, and I’ll make a formal announcement early next year. I’m not gonna run a conventional campaign, and I won’t be anointed by the political bosses.”

Buono singles out marriage equality and protections for Planned Parenthood as key to her campaign platform. Democratic state officials say she may have the support of the progressive women’s advocacy group EMILY’s List, but will not pose a serious challenge to Booker should he choose to run.

“It’s unclear to me how much organizational support she would garner,” said a Democratic source. “She’s positioning herself as a progressive candidate and is in it for the long haul no matter what.”

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