POLITICS

Chris Christie To Stump For Gov. Susana Martinez, Rekindling Buzz About 2016

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, left, listens along with New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie, right, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets supporters during a campaign stop in Hillside, N.J., Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Christie will face Democratic candidate, Barbara Buono in an election Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, left, listens along with New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie, right, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets supporters during a campaign stop in Hillside, N.J., Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Christie will face Democratic candidate, Barbara Buono in an election Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)  (AP2013)

Consider it Throwback Thursday for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

That is when the two Republicans, who have lavished praise upon each other in recent years, will join forces again.

On Thursday Martinez, who traveled to New Jersey last year to campaign for her Republican colleague in his re-election bid, will be the one laying out the welcome mat as Christie stops in New Mexico to stump for her.

A June 3 primary election will decide which of five Democratic candidates will challenge Martinez in November in her bid to win re-election.

Christie previously lent his support for Martinez with a visit to eastern New Mexico in 2010, when she first ran for governor.

But much has changed for the New Jersey governor since Christie and Martinez shared the limelight during her campaign stop for him in New Jersey last fall.

Back then, Christie was seen as an almost inevitable 2016 presidential candidate. Martinez’s trip to New Jersey to stump for him was viewed as a possible early glimpse into a 2016 GOP presidential-vice presidential ticket.

Martinez and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the only two Republicans that Christie had summoned to be his re-election surrogates.

The New Mexico governor had been only too happy to oblige. As The Atlantic noted, “And why wouldn't she?” Christie, the magazine said, was “basking in adoring media attention and even the begrudging acknowledgment of conservatives in his party.”

But then, in some political circles – particularly those orbiting around the 2016 presidential elections – Christie became nearly radioactive because of the scandal involving lane closures around the George Washington Bridge, and whether it had been political payback for a Democratic mayor’s unwillingness to endorse the governor for re-election.

In the last week, Christie has barreled back into the spotlight after a few months of dialing it down.

He has held press conferences, had legislative bill signing ceremonies, and even taken another shot at a powerful group with whom he long has been at loggerheads – the state’s teachers, saying he would slash New Jersey’s contributions to public pensions because of a shortfall in the budget.

Last week, he was in Florida, pushing for Gov. Rick Scott in his re-election bid.

But it will be an especially significant reunion on Thursday for Martinez and Christie, who have proven to enjoy a unique chemistry.

Both are former prosecutors, and are viewed as moderate Republicans, although they do share conservative views on some issues, such as gay marriage.

They think highly of each other, and have made a point to make it known on several occasions.

When speaking about why he wanted Martinez, in particular, at his side during the last days of his re-election campaign last year, Christie told reporters: “We get along.”

“I like to campaign with people I like,” he said. “And I like her a lot, we get along really well, so that’s one reason honestly … I’m on the last few days of the campaign and I really don’t want to feel like I have to babysit someone. And Susana is just an adult, she’s great. And she’s a team player.”

When Martinez was asked in 2012 about Christie’s opposition to same-sex marriage, she defended him, adding that she would also oppose it in New Mexico.

“I love his authenticity, I love who he is,” The New York Times quoted Martinez saying about Christie last year. “I will support Governor Christie in anything he decides to do in life.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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