|Monmouth Dems Chairman Vin Gopal|
In explaining why he came out and supported Senator Buono for governor early, instead of waiting for some other candidate to eventually emerge Gopal stated:
“I have a lot of respect for Dick Codey and the other people thinking about running, but our county committee and municipal leaders support Barbara Buono 100 percent, she is still the best candidate, and the greatest contrast, to Governor Christie.
With Barbara Buono, you have a strong, progressive woman who has been Budget chair in Trenton, who has been Majority Leader, who has raised a significant amount of money in a short period of time, and who is overly qualified for this position. Some of the men in the party are a little nervous, but she’s going to attract women voters all over the state. She’s going to connect with working-class families, who are dealing with a 9.6 percent state unemployment rate, the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, and property taxes that continue to go up. She is on the right side of all of these issues, including marriage equality, which the governor vetoed....”Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murrary also sees Gopal's gamble on Buono as a positive rather than a negative and helps him stake a claim as a future statewide power broker:
"Even if Dick Codey ran and got the nomination, it’s still not going to come back and bite Vin Gopal that he went out early for Barbara Buono. If Codey runs, wins the nomination, but loses to Chris Christie, it’s probably going to be his last hurrah. The party leaders are going to look beyond that, and nobody is going to hold a grudge against Gopal for not supporting Codey in a primary.
“Gopal has been working almost council seat by council seat to build up the Democratic base in Monmouth County. Now, he’s also making a statement with his support of Barbara Buono – Monmouth County should no longer be ignored by the Democratic power brokers as an afterthought.”So, is Gopal's decision to back Senator Buono really such a gamble? I think not. His decision was both a bold and smart political move on many levels. It has allowed the Monmouth Dems to have a significant say in defining the values that progressives in the state feel are important for their gubernatorial candidate to have and it focused attention of Party stalwarts Monmouth's way, showing them that Monmouth County, under Gopal's leadership, can't be taken lightly.