New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie finds himself in an awkward situation as he mulls whether to offer any support to his party's tea party Republican Senate nominee, Steve Lonegan, against his Democratic friend and off-and-on political ally, Cory Booker.
Lonegan, who cruised to victory in Tuesday's Republican primary, has a frosty relationship with Christie, dating back to his primary challenge to the governor in the 2009 campaign. Just this week, Lonegan earned a public scolding from the governor for his campaign's racially-tinged Tweet attacking Booker. "This is a governor who calls it like he sees it." said a source close to Christie. "When Steve Lonegan says something and reporters want the governor's reaction, he'll tell people what he thinks."
But if Christie fails to support his fellow Republican in the Senate race, he could take blowback from conservatives, already annoyed by his relationship with President Obama on hurricane recovery and lack of interest in helping the party contest the vacant Senate seat.
Christie allies expect the governor to offer Lonegan a formal endorsement, but don't expect the governor to lift a finger to campaign or raise money for his party's nominee or lend him support in his long-shot campaign against Booker for the October special election. "It doesn't seem like that's something he would invest in," said one member of Christie's inner circle. "Resources are limited."