Gov. Chris Christie’s run through New Jersey’s cities kept moving today, as the head of an influential black clergy group endorsed him over Democratic failure to approve the Republican’s call for a test of school-vouchers.
Reginald Jackson, executive director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, said the backing is his own personal endorsement rather than as head of the group, which represents 600 black churches and traditionallyh breaks Democratic.
In 2009, the council backed Democrat Jon Corzine.
The bishop, pastor at St. Matthew AME Church in Orange, said he’s decided that while Democrat Barbara Buono is a “wonderful, warm and generous person” he’s known for years, his backing wasn’t sentimental.
Buono’s campaign released a statement later touted support from two black pastors in her home turf of Middlesex County.
“This time I have resolved that strong leadership and good government are more important factors than friendship in deciding who is best to lead this state,” Jackson said. “A quality education is a civil right, and it is sad for me to see my party, which embraced the civil rights movement, now in New Jersey blocking low-income and minority children from escaping the slavery of failing schools.”
“My disappointment is that every day they see children who are not getting a quality education and that doesn’t seem to move them,” Jackson said today during an endorsement ceremony in Trenton.
For Christie, the endorsement is the latest example of a traditionally Democratic voting bloc crossing over to back him for a second term as he seemingly coasts to victory over Buono. Several recent opinion polls have shown him with a lead of 30 percentage points or more.
So far he’s been backed by at least 32 elected Democrats and has received the nod from other black clergy members. Along with Jackson, 10 members of the organization also endorsed Christie.