Gov. Chris Christie unleashed blistering criticism against New Jersey business leaders on Tuesday for not financially supporting Republicans in state elections, saying the consequence is Democratic majorities and proposals for higher taxes.
Christie came off the presidential campaign trail to tell executives at a New Jersey Business and Industry event that they should donate more to Republicans, who lost four seats in the Assembly in November.
The speech comes after his party suffered stinging losses last month in New Jersey. The GOP losses put the Democrat-controlled Legislature four votes closer to potentially overriding his vetoes.
“You got slaughtered,” Christie said. “It’s time to get a spine.”
Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken, who was in attendance, said Christie was on target but that businesses might not have the wherewithal to match the spending that helps Democrats.
“I don’t know how much skin in the game the business community put in. We all advocated for our own candidates and whoever had the ability to put money in did,” Bracken said. “But the other side put a whole lot of money in opposition and they won.”
The governor said business provided no counterweight to union spending, with the state’s largest teachers union steering almost $4 million to a super PAC that helped Democrats.
Christie said he attended the event to lay down a challenge to the more than 100 executives in attendance.
“I’m here today because I want you all to understand this is a day-by-day battle that you must be engaged in,” he said.