By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
Joe DiVincenzo joins a growing list of Democratic elected officials who have endorsed Chris Christie. Standing with him today were more than a dozen Essex County black ministers who support the Republican this time.
Rev. Jeffrey Bryan, of the Tabernacle Baptist, cited Christie’s performance during superstorm Sandy. “Our governor stood tall,” he said. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The African-American vote, said one, should no longer be thought of as reliably Democratic.
“We stand here today in the African-Amercian community and say, we can choose, too, We have options also,” said Rev. Joe Carter of New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.
Six Democratic mayors from Essex were also present.
Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy said, “We are proud again to be New Jersey people, we are proud of the fact that we to live in a state that is powerful and has so much to offer for everyone, and this governor brings it forward.”
“I often say that being a cop is being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing,” said Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura. “I am completely confident that I am in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing by endorsing Chris Christie’s re-election for the state of New Jersey.”
DiVincenzo is probably the most influential Democrat to date to openly back the governor.
Another who was here today was longtime Newark Democratic leader Steve Adubato, Sr.
DiVincenzo recalled another cross-party demonstration.
“When he embraced Obama, when he told Speaker Boehner, and I know what he said to him because I spoke to the governor, about making sure New Jersey gets its fair share, that’s when I made up my mind that Gov. Chris Christie needed to be reelected.”
Was it difficult for him to openly endorse a Republican?
“Listen, as a Democrat, it’s always difficult,” DiVincenzo said. “I think this is the first time in Essex County it has ever happened where a county executive has come out for someone from the other party. But it’s the right decision.”
“It’s not that any of these people behind me are changing party registration, nor have I asked them to,” said Christie. “It’s because we’ve worked together and proven to each other that putting people ahead of party is the right way to go, the necessary way to go.”
Christie seemed especially gratified by an entire roomful of Democrats endorsing him and called it an historic and pretty amazing day.