Democratic governor hopeful Barbara Buono announced labor leader Milly Silva as her running mate earlier this week, making it the first time an all-female ticket ran for governor in New Jersey and only the third time in the country.
Silva is the state president of the New Jersey division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a powerful and rapidly growing union organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Silva has been an outspoken leader of the SEIU on a number of hot-button issues, including raising the minimum wage and health care reform. Silva has also been a vocal critic of Gov. Chris Christie.
The selection of Silva as a running mate surprised some politicos across the state, as there had been widespread speculation earlier this year that Buono would select a high-profile African-American as her lieutenant governor.
At a press conference on Monday in East Rutherford, Silva said, “On the issues that affect Latinos, Chris Christie has failed. On the issues that affect African-Americans, Chris Christie has failed.”
Not to be outdone, the Christie camp quickly fired back a response that read, in part, “Milly Silva is entirely unqualified to be lieutenant governor. She has never held elective office, worked in the private sector, nor served in government.”
According to various state polls, Christie holds anywhere between a 25 to 35 percent lead over Buono.