New Jersey Gov. Christie to campaign with Corbett in Pittsburgh
Republican governors are swooping into Pennsylvania to aid fellow Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign, offering publicity, endorsements and likely millions of dollars.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a potential presidential contender, plans to campaign with Corbett on Friday in Pittsburgh.
The day's events will begin with a noon fundraiser for Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. Later, he and Corbett will attend a closed-press RGA fundraiser, followed by a public event in the city.
Private fundraising events are likely planned for the evening, said Jim Roddey, chair of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County.
“It's always good when you get a lot of people out to rally the troops, and get them enthusiastic about the campaign,” he said.
Corbett, considered by some political analysts to be the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country, trails his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf by a 20-point margin, 53 to 33 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute release on Wednesday.
RGA, dedicated to electing Republican candidates, gave $1.61 million to the Corbett campaign on April 30, according to the latest campaign finance reports. In late May, the group produced a 2 1⁄2-minute web video touting Corbett's “pro-energy” agenda.
Christie's visit occurs about two weeks after Texas Gov. Rick Perry attended a Corbett campaign event billed as “Energy Families for Corbett” in Canonsburg. Perry, a former presidential candidate, released his official endorsement on Thursday.
“Give him four more years to build an even stronger Pennsylvania,” Perry's statement read.
Billy Pitman, spokesman for the Corbett campaign, said more stops with national Republican figures who support Corbett are expected. On Monday, Christie will join Corbett for an evening RGA fundraiser in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania Democrats are unimpressed with the visits.
Spokeswoman Beth Melena called them a distraction.
“Tom Corbett is trying to distract from the fact he dropped Pennsylvania from 7th to 47th in job creation and won't institute a severance tax to fill the $1.4 billion deficit he created by spending time campaigning with Tea Party (and) scandal-laden politicians,” said Melena.
Pennsylvania voters have a moderately favorable view of Christie, whose administration has been the focus of a scandal regarding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. He has an overall favorability rating of 45 percent, and 64 percent among Republicans, according to the Quinnipiac release.
Among Democrats, Christie's favorability is 30 percent, the highest among five GOP presidential nominee possibilities for 2016.
Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 .