Christie filing papers to run for NJ gov

January 8, 2009 7:39:54 PM PST
Former federal prosecutor Chris Christie, who built a reputation as a political corruption-buster during seven years as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, announced his intention to run for governor Thursday, setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Jon S. Corzine. In an e-mail to supporters, Christie, a Republican, said he was filing papers to run and intends to make a formal announcement the first week in February.

"Ultimately, what people need to decide is who is most credible," Christie said Thursday while picking up two of his four children from school in Morristown.

"I will put my record up against anyone's in terms of doing what I say, when I say it. I think people have seen that's what I stood for as U.S. attorney and I will do exactly the same thing if I am elected governor," he said.

Moderate Republicans cheered Christie's candidacy Thursday. Many in the party have long considered him the best hope of reclaiming the New Jersey governor's office after nearly a decade of Democratic rule.

"I did not take this step lightly," Christie wrote to Republican supporters. "It was only after careful consideration and consultation with my family that I decided to become a candidate."

Corzine, who was returning to the United States on Thursday after visiting New Jersey troops in Iraq, could not be reached for comment. The governor's office declined comment.

The filing with the Election Law Enforceominating conventions this spring.

Wilson said if the Republican candidates agree on most of the issues, the party may "examine whether to have a bitter primary at that point."

Sen. Joe Kyrillos, a longtime Christie friend, said Republicans are optimistic about Christie's candidacy.

"People have been watching this, eager for news, curious whether this day would come," said Kyrillos, R-Middletown. "Chris knows what a tough but noble mission this will be. Today is the beginning of a long campaign."

However, Democratic State Committee Chairman Joe Cryan dismissed any of the Republicans chances against the incumbent Corzine.

"The Republican field includes a right-wing small town mayor (Lonegan), a right-wing conservative assemblyman (Merkt) and a Bush-Cheney appointee (Christie)," said Cryan. "We'll wait and see who the nominee is."