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Buono picks up key backing in NJ gov’s race



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Democrats appear to be uniting behind the only major candidate willing to challenge Gov. Chris Christie in November.

Sen. Barbara Buono picked up support Monday from key northern counties in her race for governor. And Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced his decision not to run.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and the Democratic Party chairmen in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties endorsed Buono as the party’s nominee. Rep. Frank Pallone of Middlesex County also endorsed Buono during a noon event in Trenton.

Pascrell earlier took himself out of the race. Sweeney of Gloucester County announced that he would focus on keeping the Legislature under Democratic control.

Democrats worry that Christie, a popular Republican, could have coattails in November that could result in some down-ballot upsets.