By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
“This is one of the really good things that I get to do as governor and as leader of the party,” Gov. Chris Christie said today. He’s “all in” when it comes to helping 20-year Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo get reelected in 2014.
He said LoBiondo was the first person to endorse him for governor in 2009 and has been an effective partner.
“I can tell you there was no better advocate on the floor of the House of Representatives last January when we were fighting for aid for Sandy relief than Frank LoBiondo,” Christie said.
LoBiondo said he welcomes the backing of the country’s most popular governor.
His district includes Atlantic City, Cape May, Vineland and Salem.
“The governor talked about the partnerships we’ve had and that’s sort of been the hallmark of what my service has been all about, to understand the needs of the second congressional district, to understand the needs of the state of New Jersey, and translate those needs into results,” said LoBiondo.
The only Democrat who has declared his candidacy for the seat is Bill Hughes Jr., son of LoBiondo’s predecessor, longtime Congressman Bill Hughes.
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew is a potential candidate. He told NJTV News today he is mulling it over with family, friends and the Senate president and will make up his mind by the end of January.
“This is a great country. Anybody who wants to get involved should have the opportunity to get involved. Sen. Van Drew has certainly proven that he’s a strong representative in our district. We’ll see what happens,” LoBiondo said.
Christie, who did not take press questions today, promised to put the weight of his political and fund-raising machines behind the Republican.
“He loves the job and he’s done it extraordinarily well,” Christie said.
It’s unusual for the governor to announce his support of an incumbent congressman at the Statehouse. An observer close to the governor says it’s a sign of how seriously Republicans are taking this year’s challenge to LoBiondo.