The fiery Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is headed to Missoula to help fellow Republican Rick Hill grab hold of the governor’s office in this state.
“Gov. Christie is one of the biggest stars in the Republican Party, and we are thrilled to have him visiting Montana to help Rick and Jon,” said campaign spokesman Brock Lowrance of Hill and running mate Jon Sonju. “We are excited to hear what he has to say about his leadership and experience in tackling tough challenges with a no-nonsense approach.”
Christie will speak at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, to supporters willing to pay at least $150 for a reception ticket to the Hilton Garden Inn event. A photo opportunity is $630 a person, or $1,000 a couple.
“I think he’s going to talk about the importance of electing someone like Rick as governor of the state of Montana and also talk about his experiences as governor of New Jersey,” Lowrance said.
In a state with strong blue notes, Christie holds a healthy approval rating, and his plainspoken ways have earned him popularity with voters. In one email to the Missoulian, the event was introduced with a header of “Jersey attitude comes to Montana!”
Christie is in his first term, but he has been mentioned as a possible running mate to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He also may deliver the keynote address for the Republican National Convention in August, and said last week he would consider running for president in 2016 if Romney loses this year.
In Montana, former U.S. Rep. Hill is battling Attorney General Steve Bullock, a Democrat, for the governor’s seat. Hill, a retired insurance company owner, wants to cut unnecessary regulations and develop Montana’s coal, oil and gas to put Montanans back to work.
Bullock, a Helena lawyer, was at the forefront this year trying to preserve Montana’s ban against corporate campaign spending; the Montana Supreme Court upheld the ban, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. He wants to put money into public education and recently proposed a $400 tax rebate to Montana homeowners.
After the June primary, Bullock had more than a 5-1 early cash advantage over Hill, who spent money to beat out six other candidates, according to his most recent campaign finance reports. Bullock had only one token candidate.
As of July 5, Bullock had $772,550 in cash left, or more than five times Hill’s $146,177; for the entire campaign, Bullock had reeled in $1,163,122, while Hill brought in $758,141.
Hill spokesman Lowrance wouldn’t comment Tuesday on how much of the candidate’s funds were going toward the event with Christie: “There is some cost involved. To be honest, I’m not really comfortable discussing that.”
For more information about the event, go to rickhillforgovernor.com.