HILLSIDE – Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Elizabeth school board President Tony Monteiro, and state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, former U.S. Senator Jeff Chiesa, First Lady Mary Pat Christie and the governor’s brother, Todd Christie were all aboard the Christie bus tour when it made a stop in Hillside for independent Mayor Joseph Menza.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie made it clear that he is backing Menza, who is in a three-way fight for a second term against Councilwoman Angela Garretson and former Councilman Jorge Batista, who is backed by Charlotte DeFilippo, a longtime Democratic Party leader in both Hillside and Union County.
“Despite the fact that Hillside put a whuppin’ on me four years ago, I’m here asking for your vote,” said the governor, who lost to Democrat Jon Corzine by 1,100 votes to 4,000 in 2009, the years Menza was elected in a nonpartisan contest.
“I need you to vote for the Christie team – Christie and Menza,” said the governor, who has earned broad support among Democratic elected officials. “I’m here to make sure I endorse the mayor, who brought honesty back to government in Hillside.”
Democratic elected officials such as Essex County’s DiVincenzo and Elizabeth’s Monteiro, as well as a large number of Black and Latino supporters in the crowd, reflected the diversity of Menza’s support.
Opponents are hopeful that they can stop Menza from reaching fifty percent of the vote, which is required to avoid a runnoff election.
Supporters of both Garretson and Batista have prefaced comments throughout the campaign by stating that they have had very little money with which to wage a campaign but their attempts to garner ethnic support has been blunted.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez – the nation’s first Latina governor – appeared with Christie on the campaign trail barnstorming on the eve of New Jersey’s gubernatorial election.
Martinez told PolitickerNJ: “Gov. Christie doesn’t see people as Latinos or Anglos, or as African Americans. He sees them as them as people who are from New Jersey and that they all deserve the same thing. And they all want the same thing, they want to have a good education for their kids [and] they want to be able to have jobs to go to.”
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