Buono will be the Democrats' standard-bearer

Rep. Frank Pallone is formally endorsing Senator Barbara Buono for Governor today, and calling on New Jersey Democrats to unite behind her.

And NJ.com is reporting Rep. Bill Pascrell and three northern NJ Dem county chairs - Bergen's Lou Stellato, Passaic's John Currie and Hudson's - Mark Smith are uniting behind Buono, adding Pascrell to the list of Cory Booker, Dick Codey and Steve Sweeney among those not seeking the governor's mansion this year.

Deciminyan will have a fuller report later on. Senator Buono is framing her remarks by addressing Chris Christie by the numbers, pointing out the risks of four more years of the nation's fourth-worst jobless rate, highest property taxes in the nation and soaring tuition costs, and talking about the progressive change New Jersey's families deserve.

Pallone, from his prepared remarks:

I believe Senator Buono is our strongest candidate to beat Governor Christie this fall, and I'm proud to endorse her. That's why I'm urging New Jersey Democrats and independents to come together to support her candidacy and avoid a divisive primary.

Through the years, I've seen Senator Buono's tireless commitment to improving the lives of New Jersey's families firsthand. She's never forgotten her working class roots and what it means to struggle. It's why the Senator has led the fight to protect investments in education and health care and job training while keeping our budget balanced.

As the first woman to be Senate Majority Leader and Chair the powerful Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee,Senator Buono has shown the leadership and the toughness we need in our next governor. She will focus on creating new jobs and bringing down out-of-control property taxes, and nothing could be more important to New Jersey's struggling middle class and working poor.

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