Christie declines to endorse Guadagno for governor
TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie would not endorse his lieutenant governor to take his place in this year's gubernatorial race.
"Good for her," was the governor's response when Kim Guadagno's candidacy was brought up to Christie during Wednesday night's "Ask the Governor" program, although he did acknowledge that she was been a "good partner" to him politically as the state's first person to hold the office, and that he has "great personal affection" for her.
When asked by host Eric Scott if Guadagno would make a good governor, Christie said "sure," but would not endorse the Monmouth Beach resident.
Christie instead offered a warning to all the Republican candidates in the field that they have a tough campaign ahead of them.
"This looks really easy when someone else is doing it. And it is really hard to run for governor. This is a tough state with lots of demands, tough to get around, lots of people, lots of people want to see you. As a candidate for governor, lots of people want to see you up close and assess you personally. The media will be in your face constantly, and you have to watch every word you say," Christie said, adding that Democrats will likely shadow her every appearance looking for statements they can use against her.
The governor said he didn't know if Guadagno was up for the rigors of the race because she's never run a gubernatorial campaign.
"This is not easy. Everybody thinks they're a genius because they've got it knocked in how they're going to do this. It's not easy. It's hard," Christie said.
Three other Republicans have filed as candidates so far: Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers, and Ocean County businessman Joseph Rullo.
Christie does not think Guadagno's title will play a big role in the campaign.
"She's going to lay out, I assume, ideas and plans she would like to do if she were to become governor. She's going to have to respond to charges and accusations and criticisms. It's a hard process. She's watched me do it twice, from a good seat, but she has not been the focus and rightfully so," Christie said.
Guadagno, in her official announcement, took shots at the governor in an attempt to distance herself from some of his policies and proposals, including a $300 million Statehouse renovation.
"We simply do not have the money to turn the Statehouse into the Palace of Versailles," she said during the announcement. She also pointed out she has traveled across New Jersey in a vehicle — "not in a helicopter," a reference to Christie's use of the state police chopper to attend his son's baseball game in 2011.
The two also disagreed on the need for a 23-cent-a-gallon increase in New Jersey's gasoline tax and the recent public question dedicating revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.