Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday “enthusiastically” endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for president, saying he’s going to work hard to put Mr. Christie in the White House.
“I happen to believe that he’s exactly the leader that we need. I think that he should be the next president. And I think he will be the next president,” Mr. Hogan said at the Double T Diner in Annapolis during an appearance with the New Jersey governor.
Mr. Christie, a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association, had stumped for Mr. Hogan during his 2014 campaign for governor — something Mr. Hogan made clear he has not forgotten. The governors association spent $1.2 million in the final weeks of the campaign on Mr. Hogan’s behalf.
“I would not be governor of Maryland if it were not for this guy right here,” he said. “When nobody believed in our race, he came in here four different times during the campaign and really pushed us over the top. Then he came and spoke at my inaugural — did a great job.”
Mr. Christie said he was “extraordinarily honored” to have the endorsement of Mr. Hogan, who was an underdog in last year’s race against former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the deep-blue state, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.
“It makes a difference — makes a real difference when those people who have the same job you have, who face the same kind of challenges, look at you and say they think that you have the leadership capabilities and the ideas to help to lead our country,” said Mr. Christie, who also picked up a recent endorsement from Maine Gov. Paul LePage.
Recent polling ranks Mr. Christie about 10th among the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, which provides him the required level of support to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate next month.
But Mr. Christie also is banking on his straight-talking demeanor resonating with voters in the early primary state of New Hampshire, which will be crucial for his White House aspirations, and he has made several appearances there, as well as in other early primary/caucus states.
“People say I’m pretty blunt, and I always say exactly what I think,” Mr. Hogan said Wednesday. “Well, that’s probably why we’re kindred spirits, because he does the same thing. Most politicians don’t do that.”
Mr. Hogan also said Wednesday that Mr. Christie’s call was among the first he received after his recent diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Mr. Christie’s was the first call he received after he gave a state of emergency address in the wake of the April rioting in Baltimore.
In addition, Mr. Christie has been wearing a “Hogan Strong” bracelet since the Maryland governor’s cancer diagnosis was announced last month.
A super PAC supporting Mr. Christie’s candidacy announced this week that it has raised about $11 million since it launched in February.
The group, America Leads, also is planning a $1 million buy in New Hampshire starting July 20, with another $2.8 million in time reserved in the state between Nov. 16 and Feb. 9.
Mr. Christie was scheduled to give an address on criminal justice reform Thursday in Camden, New Jersey, before heading to New Hampshire for events later Thursday and Friday, including two scheduled town hall meetings. He already has given policy addresses on entitlement reform, the economy, foreign policy, and education.
⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.