Governor Christie visited Lakewood Tuesday to accept the endorsement of the town’s elected leadership and the Orthodox Jewish community, after he held a town hall-style meeting at a senior development.
More than 400 people attended a rally at Yeshiva Toras Aron, with young boys standing on chairs and waiving Christie signs.
The Igud, which represents more than 30 private orthodox schools in Lakewood, and the Vaad, a group of rabbis, businessmen and local leaders that makes political endorsements, backed Christie’s re-election bid.
The united support for the popular Republican governor is significant. In 2009, the Vaad backed then-Gov. Jon Corzine, though some school leaders broke to support Christie, campaign spokesman Michael DuHaime said. The Igud did not endorse anyone in the last gubernatorial election.
Christie faces likely Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, a Middlesex County state senator. While the governor was in Lakewood, Buono was in Newark, where City County members endorsed her. She then took a tour with Mayor Cory Booker, who previously endorsed Buono, to talk to Newark residents.
During a brief speech Christie pushed his Opportunity Scholarship Act proposal, which would provide vouchers for children in failing public schools to attend private schools. He said ensuring children get a good education, shouldn’t be reliant on a parent’s ability to pay for private school, a statement rally attendees cheered.
Lakewood Mayor Albert Akerman also offered his support to Chrisite, saying about 10,000 Lakewood voters backed Christie in 2009 and he hopes to double that number this year.
Christie saw huge support in Ocean County during his first run. More than 71,000 Ocean County residents voted for him, the most for any candidate in any county in the state in 2009.
Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore said the county hopes to see 100,000 voters support Christie this time.
“The biggest problem about November is going to be complacency,” Gilmore said after the event. “You look at the poll numbers and it indicates the governor is just running away with this, so people being what they are, ‘Oh, the governors race there’s no need to go and vote. The governor is going to win easily.’ So our job is to get people motivated to go out.”