TOMS RIVER – After receiving the backing of the screening committee here, fomer U.S. Attorney Chris Christie beat former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan at the Holiday Inn to formally win the endorsement of the Ocean County Republican Organization.
The vote tally was 135 votes for Christie and 8 votes for Lonegan.
“I heard the governor said yesterday in Atlantic County that he needs four more years to get the job done,” said Republican frontrunner Christie. “I think he’s done enough of a job on us already.”
Christie introduced his father to the crowd as a resident of Ocean County, and paid tribute to Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore as a counselor and mentor.
State Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Forked River) nominated Christie as “an individual who stands for all of the middle class taxpayers in the State of New Jersey, who’s already nine points ahead.”
Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher seconded the nomination.
“I worked with Chris Christie as a former county prosecutor and it would take me all night if I enumerated his virtues,” Kellaher told the packed banquet hall.
It looked like that would be it – Party Chair Gilmore and Christie are longtime allies– but then Walter G. LaCicero, mayor of Lavallette nominated Lonegan, followed by a second out of Lavallette.
Lonegan left early and his support here from the floor had little traction.