4 things you missed this week in the Christie/Buono gov race

Gov. Chris Christie and the woman who wants to replace him, state Sen. Barbara Buono, head to Washington Thursday along with 900 of New Jersey's movers and shakers.

1) Buono wins back Democrats

A new poll out today indicates that for the first time in the race, challenger Barbara Buono now has a lead among her own constituency of Democrats: 49 percent to 31 percent. This doesn't mean she's winning, though. The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows Christie up 30 points among all registered voters, 57 to 27 percent. And she'll need, well, almost all Democrats if she's going to beat Christie, who is wildly popular among both Republicans and independents. The good news for the Buono campaign, though, is she's headed in the right trajectory.

2) Buono faces 'Hardball' (but mostly curveballs)

Buono got her second MSNBC interview last night on "Hardball," as host Chris Matthews, in his rapid-fire, iconoclastic style, threw some curveballs that Buono didn't see coming. She refused to denounce the Jon Corzine ad in 2009 that talked of Christie "throwing his weight around" as the camera focused on the middle of his body.

After saying that "all" of Christie's decisions "are guided by his eye toward 2016," Buono refused to say whether she thinks Christie is running for president in 2016.

Asked to name something she would do to create jobs, she mentioned two things that Christie did that she wouldn't have done: Canceling the ARC tunnel project to New York and pulling out of a regional greenhouse gas treaty.

"You're very nice, senator," Matthews said as he concluded the interview.

3) Christie is campaigning against a gas tax increase proposal that really doesn't really exist

The Christie campaign sent a fundraising letter to supporters this week that railed against "every last politician in Washington" AND New Jersey Democrats for wanting to raise taxes. Specifically, the letter said: "In New Jersey, the Democrats want me to support raising the gas tax. NO WAY."

Except raising the gas tax, while it has been brought up by a handful of Democrats in recent years, is not a proposal currently on the table. It hasn't gotten so much as a legislative hearing. Transportation advocates would love to raise the tax, which is among the lowest in the nation, in order to refill a depleted fund for road work. But there's no political will to raise the tax right now -- even among most Dems.

In 2011, Buono said: "I think to even broach the subject of a gas tax now is just ridiculous." She stands by those remarks today, according to her campaign.

4) The first TV ad of the campaign season is here

But it's not from either candidate. It's an anti-Christie ad funded by a liberal group with secret donors called One New Jersey. It hits Christie hard on the economy, and you might have seen it already on your TV. Here it is: