By Lauren Wanko
“I’m a Democrat and I’m a woman and I’m standing here this morning to say publicly my support of Gov. Chris Christie and his reelection campaign,” said Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long.
Christie is calling Long’s endorsement a great symbol for New Jerseyans that we have come together as a people. The storm-ravaged shore town was the governor’s latest stop in a string of campaign events. And putting aside party politics appeared to be the theme this morning.
“What I think today is really all about, being here in one of the great towns in the Jersey Shore with a Democrat mayor and a Republican governor is to say to all those people who want to play politics over the course of the next seven or eight months that the time of our people’s patience for that type of thing is over,” Christie said.
“I know what I want to see happen in November and I don’t want to have to spend the next six months being coy or playing both sides up the middle. I’m supporting this governor. That’s it,” Long said. “But I would like to state very clearly from the outset that this has absolutely nothing to do with Sen. Barbara Buono who I know is a smart and capable lady.”
A packed crowded filed into Woody’s Ocean Grill. The restaurant just reopened last month after flood waters inundated the business. It’s a long road to recovery for this Monmouth County beach town.
Sea Bright’s mayor says only about half of this community can actually move back into their homes since the storm. That’s because half of the 1,300 homes in this town were damaged. And only six of about 70 businesses have reopened.
Christie told the audience Sandy recovery work is far from done.
After seeing the devastation firsthand, Democrat Liz Vonziegesar said she had to stop by to show her support for both the mayor and the governor.
“This took a lot of courage to cross party lines when you’re a politician and I just knew this was the right thing,” Vonziegesar said.
A reporter asked Christie if he thought his campaign was getting a significant amount of out-of-state support.
“We’re doing OK, we’re doing OK, we’re putting some money in the bank,” Christie said. “I checked with my folks this morning. I think we’re over $3.5 million now.”
Christie will attend a campaign fundraiser in New York tonight. The governor says he expects to raise a half a million dollars.