LAVALLETTE – Democrats are killing each other while Gov. Chris Christie embraces the Jersey Shore.
School children brandishing little American flags flocked to the boardwalk here, where Christie said he plans to prowl this beach and others all week to remind people they can come here this summer.
The ravages of Hurricane Sandy still abound: a house twisted off its foundation here, a storefront boarded up there, but “large sections don’t look a damn bit different” than they did pre-storm.
“We fought hard for each other,” Christie said, two days after his likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) waded into a collision course with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on the issue of who should lead the Democratic State Committee.
Democrats fumed on two very visible and jagged battlefronts – one in support of Buono’s choice for state party chair – Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31) of Bayonne – and one charged by Sweeney, who didn’t want the assemblyman. Meanwhile, Christie – framed by sand dunes – drove nails into the boardwalk in preparation for a fresh round of summertime tramping.
“Lavallette is open for business,” the governor announced to hurrahs. “I’ll be travelling up and down the beach this week. Every boardwalk will be open for Memorial Day Weekend.
On Friday, primary homeowners will be able to get access to $150,000 each for home repairs and renovation.
“Those grants are not open to second homeowners,” Christie said.
A boo or two ensued.
“The president and Congress didn’t want second time homeowners but I fought for it because I know a lot of those second time homes belong to middle-class homeowners,” Christie said.
Christie said Sandy did $37 billion in damage. The feds are ponying up $20-25 billion.
“There’s a delta there,” Christie acknowledged. But state and other funding will get New Jersey close to the amount necessary to fully rebuild.
“There’s never going to be enough money,” Christie said.