Connecticut’s gubernatorial race is one of the most important in the country, according to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose visit to Trumbull Monday marks his third visit to the state, to rally support for Tom Foley.
“Gov. Malloy is a great campaigner but he’s just not a great governor,” Christie told to a cheering crowd. “You need to give him the pink slip.”
It was a brief stop, with supporters and media kept waiting for a longer period of time than Christie, who is chair of the Republican Governors Association, stayed. While his remarks were brief, he took some questions from the media and stopped to take selfies with an eager crowd on his way out.
Some Trumbull officials heard that Christie arrived by helicopter, landing in Trumbull’s Indian Ledge Park, before arriving by car to the event, but The Times could not confirm that with Christie’s staff.
Christie also attempted to make a few campaign phone calls, with media watching, though, that didn’t go so well, the governor admitted.
“I was wholly unsuccessful,” Christie joked. “I got one woman who said her husband wasn’t home and she didn’t feel like talking to me and another who said she is a Florida resident and hung up.”
Supporters at Monday’s rally were a mix of area Republicans, candidates and elected officials from around southwestern Connecticut, who chanted “Foley, Foley” before the rally began.
“I come from a state like yours,” Christie said. “Democrats had their way for some time.
“With your help, in 29 days from now, Tom Foley is going to beat Gov. Dannel Malloy,” he said.
Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, who is running for state treasurer, said it was a great day for Trumbull, welcoming Foley, his Lt. Governor running mate, Heather Somers, and Christie to town.
Herbst noted that Trumbull is the hometown of Nancy DiNardo, chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party, and that Trumbull was controlled for 30 years by Democrats, before Republicans regained control.
“The same thing is going to happen this year in Connecticut, when we elect Tom Foley as a our next governor,” Herbst said.
Herbst called Foley a problem-solver, who is a great father, husband and candidate.
Foley thanked Gov. Christie for coming to the state again and helping to send a strong message. Foley also criticized Malloy for not responding to his request to call a truce on negative campaigning.
“Why don’t you answer me yourself and agree to a truce,” Foley said of Gov. Malloy.
Foley also responded to a question on a recent poll, showing Malloy leading by eight percentage points.
“We think this race is even and we are going to keep fighting,” he said.
Christie said Republicans around the country were disappointed in Foley’s loss to Malloy four years ago, but believe that with hard work, from supporters in communities like Trumbull, Foley will win and get the state on the right track.
Christie attacked Malloy’s record on the economy and jobs, saying Malloy has made it “his business to drive business out of Connecticut.” He also pointed to Malloy’s past campaign promises not to raise taxes.
“How is that working out for you, Connecticut,” Christie asked.
When it came time to questions from media, who came from outlets around the state, Christie was asked questions on national and New Jersey issues.
Christie defended his recent criticisms of a Wisconsin Democrat running for governor, for her alleged plagiarism of a policy. Christie said the situation was “significantly different” from recent claims that Foley plagiarized policy, though he did not say how.
When asked about the Supreme Court refusing to rule on gay marriage Monday, Christie said he hadn’t had a chance to read the story.
“I don’t comment on headlines,” he said.
He also addressed polls showing a low approval rating in New Jersey.
“The numbers that really matter are when I was reelected last year with 61% of the vote,” he said.