By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
The Christie juggernaut rolls on.
This morning he got the endorsement of the Latino Leadership Alliance, a coalition of 20 groups including labor and police organizations that endorsed Jon Corzine in a split decision four years ago.
“Chris Christie has shown to us that he’s committed to reform education in New Jersey, which is the number one issue for Latinos in this state. The school system has failed, constantly in the urban areas, and we are losing a generation of Latino children,” said Martin Perez, president of Latino Leadership Alliance.
Perez praised Christie for giving his organization a seat at the table.
The governor said he and alliance leaders, while not agreeing on everything, are generally on the same path.
“Martin talked about education. There is nothing more important to me than changing the educational system in this state to make sure that every child, regardless of where they live, no matter their zip code, no matter the socioeconomic status of their parents, has the chance to be successful in this country and that’s through education,” Christie said.
Diversity in law enforcement and in government, and common sense immigration reform are other things they agree on, Christie said.
“My message on this is also to my party. We cannot expect to get support from the Latino community if we don’t make the Latino community feel welcome and important in our party,” said Christie.
The event was held at a Latino-owned tavern in New Brunswick, in the heart of Democratic candidate Barbara Buono’s home county of Middlesex.
“Gov. Christie won Middlesex County last time. He actually won Sen. Buono’s district last time. Obviously getting an endorsement from a group that endorsed Gov. Corzine last time in New Brunswick, a city that overwhelmingly votes Democrat I think shows the kind of support the governor has,” said Christie Campaign Advisor Michael DuHaime.
Christie continues to rack up endorsements that in another year might have gone Democratic. And that’s part of the message he’s trying to spread, that the Republican Party nationally has to become more inclusive.
“Today, here in New Jersey, Martin and I understand that today’s announcement and endorsement is bigger than just what we’re doing here in New Jersey. It is a symbol for the rest of our country,” Christie said.
The Buono campaign points out the Latino Leadership Alliance is just one of many Latino organizations in the state. Perez himself was Christie’s choice for a seat on the Rutgers Board of Governors. None of which negates the fact it’s unanimously endorsed Christie.