New Jersey state Sen. Richard Codey announced Friday that he won't run for governor, leaving Democrats without a top-tier candidate to run against the popular Republican incumbent, Chris Christie.
"After talking with my family, friends and other advisors and weighing the impact of a campaign on my family life, I have decided not to seek the nomination," Codey told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I want to thank my friends and supporters throughout the state who encouraged me to run and provided counsel during this process."
With Newark Mayor Cory Booker pursuing a potential Senate bid, many Democrats had viewed Codey, a former interim governor, as their strongest contender for the gubernatorial race. Codey met with union officials earlier this week in Washington to discuss his potential candidacy, but he had expressed concerns about his ability to compete with Christie financially.
State Sen. Barbara Buono is the only Democrat officially in the race, but a Quinnipiac University poll released this week showed her trailing Christie by 36 percentage points. State Senate President Steve Sweeney is still considering a run for the Democratic nomination, but he fared even worse in the Quinnipiac poll, lagging the governor by 39 points.
Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell has said he's considering running, but some expect him to ultimately pass on the race after surviving a rough member-versus-member primary against former Rep. Steve Rothman just last year.
"I find it very interesting and I've never passed up a challenge," Pascrell told PolitickerNJ this week. "But I've been through a tough year. I don't expect anyone to pat me on the back for that but it was a tough year."
Pascrell said he would make a decision within the next two weeks.