Christine Stuart photo
Tom Foley and Chris Christie in the lobby of a Greenwich hotel (Christine Stuart photo)

A popular New Jersey governor came to Connecticut to tell voters that Republicans—like candidate Tom Foley—know how to fix massive budget deficits like the ones their states share.

Bombarded first with questions from the New Jersey media, including one television and one newspaper, Gov. Chris Christie talked about how he would hold the line on spending and refused to “put the taxpayers of New Jersey on the hook” for a transportation project.

Christie said it was appropriate for him to be in Connecticut on Thursday because of how common the problems are between Connecticut and New Jersey. He said it’s important to have Republican leadership so that states can close budget gaps without raising taxes and to make the northeast more competitive as a region by making it more business friendly.

“Tom’s going to know how to do that. He’s done it his whole career,” Christie said. “He’s a businessman. He’s been successful and he’s going to bring the right kind of mindset—good conservative Republican leadership—to a state that really desperately needs it.”

Asked if a Republican governor can get things done with what is likely to be a Democrat-controlled legislature, Christie said, “You can get things done. But you have to stand up for certain principles and let them know these are the things that I won’t compromise on and the things you will compromise on.”

Christie said he doesn’t think Foley’s going to have a problem with that because he’s clear about what the ground rules are.

Asked how he should deal with the state employee unions, Christie answered, “Directly.”

“I think he’ll run into the same resistance I’m running into, but the fact of the matter is I think people admire you when you say: ‘This is the truth. We can’t afford these things any longer,’” Christie said.

Christie, who has become an icon in the conservative movement, kept supporters waiting almost two hours at the Greenwich Hyatt Hotel as he struggled with tri-state traffic. As they waited Foley entertained guests by talking about his plan for the state of Connecticut and how the Democrat-controlled legislature has made this state “radioactive to business.”

“This state, not quite as much in Fairfield County as the rest of the state, really is hurting economically. We need to get jobs back,” Foley told a crowd of about 170 supporters.

As Foley introduced lawmakers, like House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero of Norwalk, who supported his opponent Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele in the Republican primary, he struggled to get everybody’s name right and checked to make sure he didn’t miss anybody at the end. Just as he was finishing up he was swept out to greet Christie at the entrance to the hotel.

Foley was unable to say just how much Christie helped him raise Thursday evening, but guests said the minimum donation was $1,000 and $3,500 for a VIP.

Foley, a fundraiser for former President George W. Bush, raised just $355,586 in September for his own campaign according the latest filing. He loaned his campaign another $1.3 million, bringing the total amount he’s lent his campaign to $5.3 million.

Foley’s opponent, Democrat Dan Malloy, had $4.5 million on hand at the end of the last reporting period. Malloy received $6 million in public campaign funds in August.

Malloy hasn’t brought any political star power to the state but still maintains a lead, sometimes slim, in many of the polls. A new Quinnipiac University poll on the governor’s race is expected to be released on Friday.