NOW With Alex Wagner, 4/2/13, 12:33 PM ET

Buono: ‘I wouldn’t be running’ if I didn’t think I could beat Chris Christie

Barbara Buono, D-N.J., discusses running against Chris Christie in 2014 – saying he’s “anything but” a moderate, despite trying to brand himself as such.

Christie challenger Barbara Buono to focus on social issues

Updated

New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat, made clear that she would focus on social issues ahead of November’s election in an attempt to unseat the popular governor incumbent, Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

“He is not a social moderate, and we will hold him accountable,” she said. “All you need to do is look at his record on marriage equality, he’s anti-choice, and he has refused tens of millions of federal dollars to support Planned Parenthood resulting in a number of them closing across the state.”

Asked whether she could overcome Christie’s current ten-to-one fundraising advantage and 35-point lead in a state in which registered Democrats outnumber Republicans three to two, Buono sounded optimistic.

“I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could,” she said. “He may have Mark Zuckerberg, but I have Cory Booker,” she added, referring to her support from the well-known Newark mayor who is running for Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s, D-NJ.., Senate seat in 2014.

Zuckerberg, the billionaire CEO of Facebook, held a fundraiser for Christie at his Palo Alto, Ca., home back in February.

Still, Buono admitted that defeating Christie would be difficult following his widely-praised performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy back in October.

“This governor’s numbers are artificially inflated as a result of his handling of Sandy, Buono said. “New Jerseyans are smart. They’re going to go to the polls and they’re going to vote based on the issues that are going to impact on their families.”

Buono also attacked the governor for his initial refusal to condemn gay conversion therapy last month when asked about a state bill seeking to ban the practice. Christie later came out and clarified that he does not support gay conversion therapy, but did not say whether or not he would support the bill.

As governor, Christie vetoed legislation which sought to legalize same-sex marriage in his state, saying the state’s voters should decide the matter in a referendum.

Christie challenger Barbara Buono to focus on social issues

Updated