Christie to give former rival in-person endorsement
August 19th, 2013
10:50 AM ET
11 months ago

Christie to give former rival in-person endorsement

(CNN) – They were rivals in 2009.

But Tuesday New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will team up with Steve Lonegan, the man he beat four years ago for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the Garden State.

Christie, who's running for re-election this year, will endorse Lonegan's bid for the U.S. Senate in a special election in October. Senior officials for both the Christie and Lonegan campaigns confirm to CNN that the event will take place Tuesday afternoon at the Hunterdon County GOP headquarters in Flemington, New Jersey.

That Christie is endorsing Lonegan was expected, after the former mayor of the northern New Jersey town of Bogota easily won last week's GOP Senate primary.

That Christie is giving his support in person is unexpected, as conventional wisdom is that the governor would try to keep his distance from the more conservative Lonegan, as Christie tries to score an impressive re-election victory in November in New Jersey, with the support of not only Republican but also Democratic and independent voters. Christie's 2013 re-election bid is also increasingly seen as a testing ground or launching pad for a possible 2016 bid for the White House.

Christie also has a strong working relationship with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who easily lapped the field the Democratic Senate primary. Polls suggest that Booker is strongly favored to defeat Lonegan in October 16 general election. A victory in that contest would make Booker the first African-American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama in 2004. The winner of the October election will finish the term of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year.

An adviser to Lonegan, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, said that Christie talked with Lonegan following his primary victory and that that "the two men discussed pulling the state party together." The adviser says Tuesday's in person endorsement came about following discussions between Christie and Lonegan and their staffs.

Even though Christie will appear in person with Lonegan on Tuesday, what else the tough talking governor will do to help Lonegan remains in question.

"We're trying to find things that fit both men's schedules," the Lonegan adviser tells CNN.

"I've got my own campaign to run, first off," Christie said at a news conference last week just before the Senate primary. "And so to the extent that I can be helpful to the Republican nominee, whoever that turns out to be, I'm sure that I'll find some time to be helpful, but I have my own campaign to run at the same time and so my focus will be on my campaign."

Christie defeated Lonegan 55%-42% in the 2009 GOP gubernatorial primary.

Politico was first to report Tuesday's in person endorsement.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey • Senate • Steve Lonegan
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I sure would have loved to see how the governor's race turns out if Booker and Christie were on the same ticket. Christie may have high favorable ratings, but he sure did waste taxpayer money on this special election.

    August 19, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    There sure has been a great many Chris Christie "is the man" articles on CNN recently. One wonders why. From what I understand, there are 50 governors governing within the United States of America ... the majority of whom never make ticker headlines yearly, let alone daily.

    August 19, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Data Driven

    A Republican supporting a Republican is hardly "unexpected". It's just an excuse to justify yet another Christie upload.

    Two down, three more to go. I'm betting on five Christie stories today.

    August 19, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. O'drama ya Mama

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I sure would have loved to see how the governor's race turns out if Booker and Christie were on the same ticket. Christie may have high favorable ratings, but he sure did waste taxpayer money on this special election.
    August 19, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    He had to have this special election. He was in a tough position. Either replace the democrat who won the seat with a republican and anger the voters who put the democrat there in the first place or put a democrat in and anger his own base for not putting in a republican.

    August 19, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. California Gary

    A blatant attempt to shore up his "conservative" credentials leading up to his run for POTUS.

    August 19, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. joney

    1 in 4 adults are moving back in with parents in New Jersey...way to go Christie

    August 19, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Marie MD

    CNN, what's up with everything christie and turkey paul all of a sudden?
    neither one will be president. The elections are three years away. Unless you want the public to grow even more sick and tired of these two you might want to tone down your inconsequential stories about them.
    Both are loudmouth bulles. Thegov did what he had to do to get federal money for NJ. The other one, who knows what he is or does.

    August 19, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Sniffit

    That's nice. How about reporting on his fiscal policies that have damaged the public education system and other important aspects of NJ's gov't and infrastructure in order to give the wealthy more tax breaks? Or will it be an article on his lap-belt next?

    August 19, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    "He had to have this special election. He was in a tough position. Either replace the democrat who won the seat with a republican and anger the voters who put the democrat there in the first place or put a democrat in and anger his own base for not putting in a republican."
    ---------------
    Christie did not have to hold a special election at all. He could have easily appointed a more moderate conservative, instead of an extremist like Paul or Cruz. Doing so would not have have hurt him among liberals who approve of Christie. But, it would have provided cannon fodder to the right wing extremists in a 2016 campaign who already think Christie is a RINO.

    August 19, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. just saying

    Lynda/Minnesota
    There sure has been a great many Chris Christie "is the man" articles on CNN recently. One wonders why. From what I understand, there are 50 governors governing within the United States of America ... the majority of whom never make ticker headlines yearly, let alone daily.
    --

    yes, how dare cnn actually cover somebody that people are interested in when the person is a republican. don't they know that the cnn ticker is reserved for positive coverage of democrats only?

    August 19, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. just asking

    Sniffit
    That's nice. How about reporting on his fiscal policies that have damaged the public education system and other important aspects of NJ's gov't and infrastructure in order to give the wealthy more tax breaks? Or will it be an article on his lap-belt next?
    -–

    of course absolutely no facts to back it up. just vacuous bs. i'm sure you mean't to say he has hurt the unions. because that is all the leftist care about. the leftist union controlled school systems are a shambles everywhere where the unions are out of control and that occurred long before christie was elected.

    August 19, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    just asking wrote:

    of course absolutely no facts to back it up. just vacuous bs. i'm sure you mean't to say he has hurt the unions. because that is all the leftist care about.
    ----------------------
    There are plenty of "facts" that document the severe budget cuts to NJ education. He cut $400 million from education to fund a tax cut for the wealthy during his first year. His staff dropped the ball on applying for a $450 million federal education grant so badly that he had to fire the whole lot of them. The cuts to education were so severe that the Facebook founder donated $100 million to Newark schools.

    And the Christie disaster runs deeper than that. During his first year, Christie cancelled the NJ portion of a high speed rail jobs, which killed thousands of jobs. The project was in its' final phase after a decade of construction. Christie claimed that he was convinced the project would go over budget, forcing NJ taxpayers to make up the difference. A decade of under budget construction begged to differ, and so the federal government forced NJ to pay back hundreds of millions that had already been spent on existing construction. All that was left was a rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

    August 19, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |