Camp Hill, Pa. – Putting his party boss hat on five weeks out from the midterm elections, New Jersey governor Chris Christie appeared Friday night in central Pennsylvania to aid a struggling Tom Corbett in an effort to get the state’s governor over the hump and earn a second trip back to Harrisburg.
Corbett, who was swept into the governor’s mansion during the 2010 wave, is currently trailing Democrat Tom Wolf, a deep-pocketed businessman and former PA Secretary of Revenue, by nearly 16 points according to the latest Real Clear Politics average.
With that the case, the party brought out the big guns in Christie. The embattled New Jersey governor largely deflected attention from himself throughout his 26 minute speech, talking up his neighboring governor’s first term in office and criticizing a presumptive Wolf governorship.
Notably, Christie did not mention President Obama’s name once, keeping the race as local as possible.
“It’s time to get Tom Corbett over the finish line here in Pennsylvania,” said Christie, who notably did not make an appearance for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign with Corbett when they swept through the eastern part of the state during a late stop as he dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
However, it’s evident: Christie is taking on his role as head of the Republican Governor’s Association with a certain sense of importance with just five weeks left until the votes are counted. Since December 1st, Christie has made stops in 33 states in support of GOP candidates.
The New Jersey governor hopes this leads him back into the good graces of Republican voters following a trying year for one of the chief leaders of the GOP.
“I’ll be back here in Pennsylvania, I’ll be back a number of times between now and election day,” he told the crowd of nearly 600 in the Keystone State.
“For the next five weeks, consider that you have not one governor, but two,” he added, saying that he’ll be watching just over the state line in Trenton.
Christie spent Friday afternoon fundraising for Michigan’s Rick Snyder in Detroit, who, unlike Corbett, is currently locked in a tight battle for reelection where President Obama won in 2012.
Snyder is currently leading Democrat Mark Schauner by 2.5 points, according to the latest RCP average of the “toss up” race.
Looking to fill the gap as the establishment candidate in 2016, Christie was seen as an early favorite until the George Washington Bridge scandal began to dominate the first few months of his second term in as governor. Christie briefly mentioned the scandal during his Friday night remarks.
“I’m from New Jersey, and that means we are often wrongfully accused…of being cynical, feeling stuck between New York and Pennsylvania.”
But tonight, Christie exhibited his goals for both for the immediate and long term: to win.
To defeat the current scandal hampering his second term. To win for his party in November. And lastly, to win for his party (and possibly himself) in 2016.