He has been to more than 30 states over more than 100 days this year, working for Republican gubernatorial, senate and congressional candidates. But what has Gov. Chris Christie done for New Jersey Republicans running for federal office this year?
Monday morning, 15 days before the election, Christie campaigned with Republican senate candidate Jeff Bell. This was his first public campaign event specifically for a New Jersey Republican running for federal office since Jan. 6, when Christie said he was “all in” for Congressman Frank LoBiondo at a news conference in Trenton.
Nicole Sizemore, spokeswoman for the state Republican party, cautioned that the lack of campaign events does not mean that Christie isn’t supporting the Republicans running for office in New Jersey’s 12 congressional districts. He has held more than 20 events for the party and New Jersey Republicans this year, she said, although almost all were closed door fundraisers. Christie also held an event last month with Mitt Romney that was open to the press, raising more than $600,000 for the state party. Sizemore said the state GOP has supported all of the New Jersey Republicans running for federal office, and Christie has sent mass emails on behalf of candidates.
Christie has certainly been more public about his support for candidates in other states, though, holding well-promoted events in restaurants and campaign offices where he talks to voters and local reporters. This has yielded him consistent news coverage around the country.
Until Monday he had not done similar events for congressional and senate candidates in New Jersey. But such campaigning is ramping up, Sizmore said. On Thursday he will publicly stump for Tom MacArthur, who has a lead over Democrat Aimee Belgard in a competitive and expensive race for an open congressional seat in the southern and central part of the state, she said. Christie has already held private fundraisers for MacArthur and Congressmen LoBiondo, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen.
It is hard not to look at Christie’s campaign schedule and speculate about 2016. One state where Christie has publicly stumped for a congressional candidate? Iowa, which holds the nation’s first presidential caucus. And one state where Christie has publicly campaigned for a Senate candidate? New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary.
This post has been updated from its original version.