Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal has endorsed Chris Christie for governor of New Jersey in a new campaign ad.
The Republican incumbent is up for reelection on Tuesday, November 5. All polling suggests he will win in a landslide over his Democrat opponent Barbara Buono, which will continue to make him a strong contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
In the 30-second ad, Shaq — who was born in Newark — explained his endorsement of Chris Christie as follows:
“I don’t endorse many politicians. But Chris Christie is different. He’s working with me to bring jobs back to our cities and on a new program to help kids in tough neighborhoods get ahead. Governor Christie’s provided more funding for schools, given parents more choices in what schools their kids can go to, and merit pay for good teachers. He’s a good man. Excuse me, he’s a great man. Please join me in supporting Chris Christie — the Governor.”
Christie and Shaq recently launched an after-school program in the southern N.J. city of Camden.
Rebuilding the New Jersey coastline is one of his Christie’s cornerstone polices, but he has put the blame on Congress and Washington DC bureaucrats for the red-tape-related delay in aid for Superstorm Sandy relief in his state. The Christie administration did everything it possibly could in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the governor said today, but “Since then, we’ve kind of been hostage to two situations, the delay in the aid itself and then what I call the ‘Katrina factor,’ which is the much more detailed and difficult rules surrounding the distribution of the aid.”
According to The Daily Beast, Christie is receiving broad support in his reelection bid across all groups and political parties. “To date, Christie has received the support of 25 prominent African-American elected officials and pastors from across New Jersey in addition to 52 Democratic politicos. One important reason given in testimony after testimony is Governor Christie’s support for school choice and The Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would have funded a pilot program offering state scholarships to low income students, allowing them to leave failing public schools. Democrats blocked the bill in the statehouse. Not incidentally, Shaq’s endorsement specifically gives a shout out to education reform as a common cause, from school choice to merit pay.”
In addition to the Chris Christie endorsement, O’Neal publicly supported Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.