ELIZABETH – Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign picked up another labor organization endorsement Tuesday.
The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, which represents 1,300 police officers, announced the group’s decision to back the incumbent Republican governor in his bid for re-election. The announcement comes after Christie received the backing of Laborers International Union of North America last month.
Both unions backed former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign.
“I appreciate your endorsement. I appreciate you all being on my side,” Christie said.
“I need all of you, not just to be with me, but to be with me,” he said. “I need you to be talking to your friends and neighbors. … Every vote is going to count, every vote matters.”
Christie spoke to members of the PAPBA inside the Newark Airport Hilton Hotel. He described how Sept. 11 changed him and how he won’t forget lessons learned from the terrorist attacks.
“Let me make one thing perfectly clear,” Christie said. “Never, not ever on my watch, will there be any other police force who will patrol the new world Trade Center.”
Christie said his office is a “50-50 partner” with Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in supporting the PBA members.
“We have to find ways to work together. But working together is represented by the word compromise, not by the word retreat,” Christie said. “I understand that and I know Gov. Cuomo understands that … and so we understand together the commitment we need to make to the men and women of this force.”
The union, which boasts representing the second largest police force in the state and the 41st-largest in the country, is backing Christie because of his “strong [and] decisive” leadership skills, said Paul Nunziato, president of the PAPBA.
“We stand here this morning only a few miles from the hell on earth that was Ground Zero,” said Nunziato, speaking before at least 150 PAPBA members cheered the governor.
“Chris Christie has our backs, he’s been there every time,” Nunziato said. “When Gov. Chris Christie took office his team listened to our concerns … [and] stood behind the men and the women of the PAPBA.”
Nunziato also cited the governor’s response to Superstorm Sandy as another deciding factor in its decision to back the governor.
“He doesn’t need our endorsement, but I’m proud to give it to him,” he said.