CLEVELAND – Despite the fact that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was one of the top contenders for presidential candidate Donald Trump’s VP nomination, members of New Jersey’s delegation say they are happy with Trump’s pick of Indiana Governor Mike Pence for the spot.
From the floor of the RNC convention at the Quicken Loans Arena, PolitickerNJ spoke with some notable members of the delegation to get their thoughts on Pence.
According to state Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-39), Pence is a solid pick for Trump’s VP.
“If I were Donald Trump I would probably have picked someone different but this is not a bad thing, it is a good thing,” Cardinale said. “It has been received very well. I don’t really know Pence well. I know [other contender Newt] Gingrich better than Pence, I know Christie better than I know Pence, but it seems to be a good pick. Having listened to what he has to say and seeing some of the commentaries I think this is a good thing.”
When asked if Christie would have been a better choice, Cardinale said: “I am from New Jersey so I would have a different take, probably, from people around the country.”
State Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) was the first New Jersey Republican elected official to declare that he was backing Trump. He said that he feels Pence will be a strong addition to Trump’s ticket.
“It is a pivotal election at this point. [Trump] is doing very well in the most recent nationwide polls that we see but, more importantly, in the contested states,” Doherty said. “In those Midwestern states Governor Pence is going to be a great candidate to help pick up some of those states. He was a congressman, so he certainly knows how congress works and he has been a successful Governor.”
State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) also agreed that Pence is a respectable VP candidate.
“It is a good, solid choice,” Pennacchio said. “He brings foreign affairs experience because he was in congress. He is a great governor. He mollifies the base of the party, the establishment, but he also mollifies the conservative wing of the party. Good all around choice.”
When Governor Christie was running for president, Pennacchio was a vocal supporter. When asked if he would have preferred Christie as Trump’s VP choice, Pennacchio said: “Absolutely, can’t hide that fact. But, our governor is too talented to keep him out of the mix. He will be around.”