SPRINGFIELD – Gov Chris Christie today formally endorsed his longtime friend and political confidant, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R13) for U.S. Senate in what establishment Republican players anticipate will be a general election joust between Kyrillos and incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
The pair worked the hands of voters in a Route 22 diner before addressing a crowd that included state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21), Union County GOP Chairman Phil Morin and Christie political minder Bill Palatucci.
Christie consistently underscores the challenge presented by the fact that New Jersey contains more registered Democrats than Republicans and faced with that redoubtable obstacle, he sounded bipartisan power chords.
“Joe Kyrillos is the right man for the U.S. Senate,” said Christie. “I know the things Joe stands for. He stands for good conservative values. He brings great research and knowledge to his decisions, and he has shown that he can work across the aisle. That’s one more thing they need in Washington. …He’s the change we need in Washington.”
There is no evidence that the men worry about a serious Republican Primary challenger. Sources close to former Highlands Mayor Anna Little say she’s 50/50 on a Tea Party-styled challenged. Movement conservative leader state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) last week formally endorsed Kyrillos.
Christie promised to campaign avidly with Kyrillos between now and Election Day 2012.
“This endorsement by our great governor means more than words can express,” said Kyrillios, acompanied by his wife, Susan, son Maxwell and daughter Georgia. “In my years (in the legislature) I am most proud up until now of the leadership that we have provided with Gov. Christie as governor. I am proud to be a part of it. We are turning the state around.
“Over the past 6 years Bob Menendez has stood on the sidelines while our national debt has skyrocketed from $8.1 to $15.3 trillion, employment has increased over 76%, and our annual deficit has grown five-fold. I will bring to Washington energy, honesty, leadership, integrity and hard work in order to ensure that the last century – the American Century – is not an historical accident. With Governor Christie’s help, we can renew America’s promise of opportunity, and make New Jersey proud.”