Chris Christie Says More Help is on the Way for Gov. Scott
The Republican Governors Association has chipped in $8.5 million this summer toward Gov. Rick Scott's re-election effort.
And as he campaigned with Scott on Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the association, which he chairs, isn't done assisting the Sunshine State's governor.
"I'll be here another three, four, five times between now and Election Day, because this is an incredibly important race to me personally and all Republican governors across the nation," Christie told about 150 people packed into the bar area of Capt. Anderson's restaurant in Panama City Beach. "But here's the better news; our money is going to be here too. We need to make sure that people know how great their governor is. And we need to make sure that they know what a difference it will be to go backwards."
Going backwards, to Christie, means a return to the stewardship of Florida under Charlie Crist, who is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Crist served four years as a Republican governor before switching parties after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate.
The association's contributions, including $2 million earlier this month to the Scott-aligned "Let's Get to Work" political committee, are a sign of the importance the national political parties place on the race between Scott and Crist.
Though Crist and his supporters trail the Scott team in raising money, Crist spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said, in response to Christie's comments, that Scott will need the money.
"He'll need to keep the money flowing --- unlike what (Christie's) team did with traffic over the George Washington Bridge --- to cover up Rick Scott's record of cutting $1.3 billion in education funding and letting insurance companies and utilities hike rates on our families and seniors," Gilfillan said in an email, referring to a well-publicized controversy about the bridge.
Christie, however, expressed optimism about Scott's chances when asked if there were concerns about losing the Florida Governor's Mansion after the state went for Democrat Barack Obama in the past two presidential elections.
"People vote for governors differently," Christie said after another appearance with Scott before about 200 people inside the sweltering Historic Wakulla County Courthouse in Crawfordville. "Remember in 2012, Barack Obama won my state by 18 points, and 12 months later I was re-elected by 22 points. When people see a good governor they want to keep them."
Recent polls show Scott with an edge over Crist, as Scott's campaign has spent heavily to highlight negatives about Crist, who was governor while Florida and the nation went into a recession. Crist ran as an independent for a U.S. Senate seat rather than seeking a second term as governor in 2010.
Christie, often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, joined the chorus of Crist critics during both stops.
"The last four years, what has Charlie Crist been doing? Just planning for the next ego trip he was going to take by getting back on the ballot one more time," Christie said, drawing applause at the Panama City Beach restaurant.
The latest Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center numbers had Scott up by 5 points, receiving 40.9 percent of the people surveyed, while Crist was at 35.7 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie had 6.3 percent.
During their appearances together, Scott and Christie played as friendly rivals in attracting jobs to their respective states.
"If he does something well, I'm going to try to do it as fast as I can," said Scott, who has been traveling the state pitching proposals to cut taxes.
Christie responded that New Jersey will have to "post guards" to keep Florida's business recruiters out of the Garden State if Scott has another four years as governor.