State Sen. Barbara Buono was feistier, better prepared, and even landed a couple of zingers on Gov. Chris Christie last night at their second and final debate.
By some accounts, albeit mostly Buono’s backers, she might have even won the debate. Afterward, her supporters clearly were more pleased than a week ago after the first encounter, and Christie supporters more subdued.
But while the 90-minute exchange held at Montclair State University did introduce some news and drama -- and even a little levity -- into the governor’s race, there was not a sense afterward that this would be a game-changer for the Democratic challenger who stands at a double-digit deficit in the polls.
“The senator was a different candidate tonight than we saw in the campaign, someone who clearly didn’t have anything to lose,” said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State and one of four members of the panel questioning the candidates.
“In many ways, that benefited her. She was articulate and very, very passionate,” Harrison said afterward. “But the reality is going up against this governor, at this point in the campaign, is it enough?”
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