Contested statewide Democratic primary elections do not happen very often here in New Jersey. Since I started paying close attention to New Jersey politics in 1997, there have only been four seriously contested statewide Democratic primary elections. In 1997, then-Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey defeated Congressman Rob Andrews and Morris County Prosecutor Michael Murphy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. In 2000, Jon Corzine bought more votes than his senatorial opponent, former Governor Jim Florio, was able to earn. In February 2008, Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in the Presidential primary election. In June of that year, Andrews lost his second statewide primary election when he challenged the incumbent U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg.
It appears as if we will have a hotly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary election in 2013. The most likely candidates at the moment are State Senators Barbara Buono, Dick Codey, and Steve Sweeney. It is possible that other candidates could come out of the woodwork over the next year or so, but for the sake of this discussion, the names are less important than the questions that the current political dynamic in the state, which has Democratic Party bosses, including but not limited to Steve Adubato and George Norcross, closely aligned with Republican Governor Chris Christie, raises about how serious these bosses are about defeating Christie.
These bosses and their acolytes in the State legislature have enabled Christie to get more of his agenda passed than our last Democratic Governor, Corzine, and have never even come close to a government shutdown like the one which occurred as a result of the conflict between Corzine and then-Assembly Speaker, Joe Roberts, a Norcross minion, over whether the state sales tax should be increased, and if so, how the additional revenue should be spent. So it stands to reason that Adubato, Norcross et al would probably prefer to have one of their own (Steve Sweeney being the most likely candidate, but Assemblyman Louis Greenwald is another possibility) as Governor than Christie, but in lieu of that, it would not be safe to assume that they would prefer someone else, like Buono or Codey, over Christie.