Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Christie lends Pa. colleague Corbett a hand

Gov. Corbett and Gov. Christie teamed up at a fund-raising event at Primanti´s restaurant in Pittsburgh.
Gov. Corbett and Gov. Christie teamed up at a fund-raising event at Primanti's restaurant in Pittsburgh. KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

PITTSBURGH - He was raising money in Pittsburgh on Friday, but New Jersey Gov. Christie said he'd soon be spending significant campaign cash in Pennsylvania for the reelection of his embattled Republican neighbor, Gov. Corbett.

"That's the way you define a top priority when you're a leadership committee," said Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association (RGA). "[It's] where you spend your time. I'm here with Gov. Corbett in Pittsburgh today, I'll be in Philadelphia Monday. And it's where you spend your money, and we'll be spending plenty of money here in Pennsylvania."

In the face of post-primary polls depicting his GOP colleague as an underdog in his bid for reelection, Christie called the Pennsylvania race a top priority for the RGA.

"The RGA will be here to make sure there is the right and appropriate attention paid to Gov. Corbett's record," Christie said as he stood with Corbett in Primanti's, the Strip District sandwich shop that is a regular stop for politicians on the stump. "And I think when the people of Pennsylvania are reminded of that in the context of the election, as it gets closer, you're going to see those polls tighten significantly and he is going to be the winner in November."

Among other bonds shared by the two former prosecutors are the challenges they face in balancing budgets tipping into the red. A string of monthly revenue collections trailing projected levels forced Corbett to be noncommittal on whether the state would be able to reach goals for education funding increases he outlined in his February budget message.

Facing a projected deficit of more than $1.2 billion, Corbett said he hoped the state's negotiations with the federal government on his proposal to expand Medicaid through a private insurance model might be part of the budget solution. But he's not counting on it.

"We've been having very good discussions," he said during the governors' brief news conference. "I certainly hope that the people in Washington aren't going to slow this down for any budgets or for campaign issues."

As the two shook hands and posed for photographs in the Strip District landmark, about 20 Democratic supporters chanted and jeered from the sidewalk. Several carried signs promoting Tom Wolf, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

The Wolf campaign issued a statement deriding the governors' appearance.

"While Gov. Corbett campaigns with out-of-state politicians, Pennsylvania is facing a $1.4 billion budget deficit, we have fallen to the bottom in job creation, drastic cuts to education have hollowed out our schools, and Gov. Corbett refuses to pass a severance tax on big oil and gas companies to help fund education," the Wolf campaign said.

James O'Toole Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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