New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being scrutinized for a new, publicly funded campaign that promotes tourism in the Garden State following the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
Christie, his wife, and their four children will appear in six television and radio ads intended to drive visitors to the Shore this summer and boost the economy in beach towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.
The first wave of federal emergency relief dollars paid for the $25 million, one-year contract with the public relations firm that spearheaded the “Stronger than the Shore” campaign.
But Democrats said his starring role gives him an unfair advantage to boost his political image. Christie is running for re-election this year.
“This is something where as a governor you demonstrate competence, and that’s exactly what people are not seeing in their leaders right now,” Mike Allen, Politico’s chief White House correspondent, said on Monday’s Morning Joe.
Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012, in southern New Jersey. More than six months later, thousands of residents are still displaced and struggling to rebuild their lives and communities.
Christie said last month that he had no regrets working with President Obama on his state’s recovery, despite political blowback. Republicans criticized him for working with the president, but the governor challenged the critics to put themselves in his shoes.
“What the president and I did at that time is we saw suffering together,” Christie said last month. “When you see that, you’re either going to step up and be responsible or you’re not. We stepped up and were responsible.”
Hours before Christie was scheduled to give his State of the State address in January, Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Christie “prayed a lot and got lucky that a storm came.”