By John Celock
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) past work in electing Republicans governors is paying more dividends for his presidential campaign as he picked up his second gubernatorial endorsement on Wednesday.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), whose come from behind victory last year was in part orchestrated by Christie, announced that he would be backing Christie’s presidential bid. Christie used his perch as Republican Governors Association chairman last year to direct resources to Hogan’s campaign, which was viewed by many to be an underdog effort against then Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D). Hogan was quick to compare his and Christie’s gubernatorial records.
“In order to work across the aisle and bring bipartisan solutions to the serious problems, takes leadership,” Hogan said Wednesday.
Hogan is the second governor to back Christie’s presidential campaign, following Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) who endorsed Christie earlier this month. Christie had been a top supporter of LePage’s reelection bid last year, directing RGA resources to bolster the struggling LePage campaign.
Christie had made Hogan’s bid in Maryland a top priority for the RGA last year, appearing multiple times with Hogan and directing RGA funds to a race that many had seen as a sure thing for Brown. Brown was seeking to succeed term limited Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Hogan’s victory was seen as a boon for Christie’s national prospects and a blow to O’Malley’s political fortunes.
Hogan has credited Christie’s support for winning him the governorship in the Democratic state. Hogan’s victory was only the second time a Republican had captured Maryland’s governorship since former Gov. Spiro Agnew (R) resigned to become vice president in 1969.
Hogan used the press conference to say that he and Christie have had similar governing styles, noting that both govern blue states and have Democratic majorities in their Legislatures. He said that Christie’s ability to steer legislation through a Democratic Legislature in New Jersey and his past backing by Democrats can win him the election.
“One of the reasons Chris Christie will be the next president is he can connect with Democrats and independents,” Hogan said.
Christie has made his alliances with Democrats a top talking point in his national appearances for years. During the 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial campaign, over 70 Democratic elected officials endorsed Christie over Democratic nominee Barbara Buono. Christie has also formed long term alliances with various New Jersey Democratic powerbrokers including South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzio and state Sen./Union City Mayor Brian Stack.
Christie said that voters picked Hogan because they want people who tell the truth, a theme he has made central to his presidential campaign.
“The reason voters voted for him is they were hungry for someone telling the truth,” Christie said about Hogan. “That’s why the people of Maryland love Larry Hogan. He tells the truth about the problems.”
Christie also praised Hogan’s candid discussion of his current battle with cancer and confirmed that he was exchanging texts with Hogan about his health in the moments prior to announcing his presidential campaign.
Christie also used the truth lines to attack President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, accusing Obama of not telling the truth about the Iran nuclear deal. He criticized the deal, saying that the terms would not help the United States or Israel. He said Clinton, who served as secretary of state in Obama’s first term, has ownership over the president’s entire foreign policy record.
“Don’t lie to the American public, Mr. President,” Christie said.