Politics

Christie and Buono Step into the Ring for their First Gubernatorial Debate

Christie in the Lead; Buono Looks to Gain Ground Before Election on Nov. 5


According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Republican Governor Chris Christie has 62 percent of the votes over his Democrat opponent, Barbara Buono. Not even the debate on Tuesday, October 8, was able to change much of the direction in which the polls were going.

At their first debate, both candidates were clear to show that  they had opposite views, ranging  from education to gay marriage. Christie seemed to have walked away with victory, making him a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for president, while Buono used her time to get her points across.

“[The] debate was really the entire campaign encapsulated into 60 minutes,” explained Patrick Murray, Director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “Barbara Buono threw out a whole host of issues where she disagrees with Gov. Christie, but never fully developed a clear line of attack that would appeal to independent voters. Christie demonstrated how he is a master of turning attacks to his advantage.  In the end, this debate did nothing to change the race’s dynamics,” said Murray.

When asked why New Jersey has been lacking in certain aspects, such as employment rate, Christie replied by saying that the former governors left New Jersey in a terrible state, and its been a difficult to fix.

Buono responded, “You have to man up. You’ve been in office for four years. It’s time to own your record and defend your record.”

Buono gave her opinion on the topic of how Christie handles some of his word choices when referring to some of his opponents. He has been known for calling certain opponents “stupid,” “idiots,” and “jerks,” to which Buono mentioned, “By using and by choosing that type of language, are you sapping the dignity out of the governor’s office?” Christie was quick to respond, “In fact the quite opposite. What the people of New Jersey want is someone who’s real and who will tell them the truth as he sees it. That’s what leadership is all about.”

Buono went futher to saying that he was setting a bad example to children, to which he said, “It’s who I am and I’m not going to change.” Christie stayed grounded in what he believed the entire night which may be a reason why many voters lean towards him during this election.

The public has seen how Christie works in the last four years and he has not disappointed. According to an article found on ABC News from May 8, 2012, “56 percent of New Jersey voters approve of Christie, 33 disapprove.” Christie’s headstrong demeanor has been able to captivate the New Jersey Voters into considering him for a second term in office.

“[Christie] handled the Sandy crisis well, and his working relationship with President Obama permits Christie to reach out to non-Republican voters in our traditionally Democratic-leaning state,” said Dr. Kenneth  Mitchell, associate professor of political science.

On the other hand, Buono entered the race with little recognition and little money for her campaign, making things a lot more complicated for her to get attention. An article from NJ.com on May 5, 2013, stated tha she got enough contributions to secure her public matching funds for the primary or general election. “State election finance records show that if the senator from Middlesex County wants to get the maximum public matching funds before the June 4 primary, she would need to raise about $250,000 a week, or about eight times her current $30,000-a-week clip,” the article said.

Raygine Crespo, freshman said, “Christie is someone that has been in office for the last four years; someone that everyone has seen how he works in office.”

She continued, “He has been able to handle the many issues that the New Jersey has been faced in the last couple years and it hasn’t been easy. As much as it would be nice to have someone in office that understands women issues like Buono does, Christie is indeed the one to win this race.”

One aspect that is on everyone’s mind is whether or not Christie will be running for president in 2016.  When asked at the debate on Tuesday about his stand on running, he responded “I am not going to declare tonight ... that I am or I’m not running for president,” and later added, “I won’t make those decisions until I have to.” It has been mentioned since the beginning of his term that he is willing to run and his national status has grown since he has been elected into office and was the keynote speaker last year at the Republican National Convention.

Christie and Buono will meet for one more debate on Oct. 15, and elections will be held Nov. 5.

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