NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An Ohio Democrat who lost his 2010 re-election bid to a Republican who Gov. Chris Christie stumped for returned fire Thursday by appearing as keynote speaker at a New Jersey Democratic party dinner.

Ted Strickland spoke at the Jefferson Jackson fundraising dinner Thursday. He said he sees a progressive movement emerging in the country, led by activists fighting for gay marriage.

He invited Christie challenger Barbara Buono to stand with him on stage. Buono is a progressive Democrat who said she is running for the people of New Jersey.

Strickland called Christie “a verbal bully” and said he is much like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who defeated Strickland.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver urged Democrats to get their acts together before the governor’s race in November.

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