Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie did not get the Sierra Club’s endorsement for governor, but his campaign used the occasion of the group’s backing of independent Christopher Daggett to point out the obvious: Governor Corzine did not get it either.
“The Sierra Club and other groups formerly aligned with Corzine are sending a clear message that they believe him to be responsible for New Jersey’s dire economic outlook and incapable of following through on important environmental initiatives and green job creation,” said a Christie press release.
Corzine won the Sierra Club’s support late in his first gubernatorial race four years ago, but his relationship with the club and other environmental organizations soon deteriorated. The frequent criticism aimed at Corzine from Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel — who faulted the governor for not committing to open space funding, cutbacks at the Department of Environmental (DEP) Protection and a proposed closure of some state parks — signaled early on that another endorsement was unlikely.
Daggett, who was a regional EPA administrator and DEP commissioner in the 1980s — became eligible for the Sierra Club’s endorsement after he qualified for matching funds, making him a viable candidate by their standards.
The Corzine campaign responded to the Daggett endorsement indirectly, touting its own environmental accomplishments.
“Protecting New Jersey’s environment has always been – and continues to be – a top priority for Governor Corzine. This is a pivotal time for all of us who are committed to safeguarding and improving our environment and the quality of life in our communities, with energy and climate change issues being at the top of the list,” said Corzine spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith. “New Jersey was only the third state in the U.S. to make greenhouse gas reduction goals law. And, Governor Corzine launched the State’s first Energy Master Plan since 1991, setting aggressive policies for a responsible energy future and creating more than 20,000 new green-collar jobs.”