Dems say avoiding gov. primary chief concern

County Democratic chairmen from across the state today agreed that avoiding a bloody primary in their bid to take back the governor’s office is paramount to their chances, according to a source familiar with the content of a conference call today.

The source said virtually of the participants on the call with State Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski agreed that a primary would force the party to spend needless money battling each other, while Gov. Chris Christie spends the remainder of the winter and spring touting his own accomplishments.

But according to the source, some of the chairmen were unconvinced that state Sen. Barbara Buono – to date the only declared Democrat in the race – can effectively carry the party’s flag. Those chairmen expressed concern about their down ballot races, saying they prefer either former Gov. Dick Codey or Senate President Steve Sweeney to Buono.

Buono has already received the support of chairmen in Middlesex and Somerset Counties and she did have some support on the call.  A second source as many as four chairmen said that Buono should be the candidate.

According to the source, the chairmen spoke also about the possibility for imposing a deadline on potential candidates to declare.  Both Sweeney and Codey are flirting with the idea of a run but neither has made his intentions known.  Some chairmen were reportedly against the idea and the deadline was nixed, however the chairmen urged Wisniewski to push the remaining potential candidates to declare as soon as possible.

"Sit down and shut up!"
—Gov. Chris Christie, to a Hurricane Sandy heckler