New Jersey Gov. and GOP superstar Chris Christie is joining former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich on the campaign trail this week, bringing what Ehrlich hopes will be a major boost to his effort to unseat Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Christie's brash, no-nonsense governing style has caught national
attention since he won the governorship in 2009. His endorsement comes
at a critical time in the Maryland governor's race, campaign analysts
say. Recent polls show Ehrlich slipping slightly behind O'Malley in a
state that is heavily Democratic.
"[Christie] is a huge star," said GOP strategist and former Republican
National Committee spokesman Alex Conant. "His proposals to reform
government in New Jersey is the type of leadership voters want to see
everywhere. That's why he is in big demand across the country this
Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine last year and
inherited an $11 billion deficit, as well as one of the nation's most
underfunded pension systems.
Since taking office, Christie has identified more than $2 billion in
unspent funds, forced schoolteachers to pay for their health care
benefits and slashed state spending by $3 billion without raising taxes.
"It's not unlike what the next governor of Maryland will face," said
James Gimpel, a politics professor at the University of Maryland. He
said Christie's governing style can "appear brash," but "there's a real
truth to it" that will appeal to some Marylanders who feel fatigued by
taxes and big government.More details