Ben Johnson co-authored this article.
TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is refusing to campaign for the pro-life Republican running to unseat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, one of the most pro-abortion Democratic governors in the nation.
Cuomo is currently championing the most radical expansion of late-term abortion in the United States. One plank in his “Women's Equality Act” would strike down all restrictions on abortion through the ninth month and allow non-physicians to perform abortions. Last Thursday, Cuomo announced he was forming a new third party, the Women's Equality Party, to promote late-term abortion.
In April, Rob Astorino, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate in New York, told LifeSiteNews that the abortion provision in Cuomo's Women's Equality Act, which would have allowed abortion up to the moment of birth, “is so radical, and so out of touch that even New Yorkers who consider themselves pro-choice” oppose it.
Christie, who is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and heading the GOP's gubernatorial efforts across the nation, was campaigning in Connecticut when reporters asked him whether he would campaign on behalf of Astorino.
According to Christie, the answer is a nearly unqualified no.
“I will spend time in places where we have a chance to win — I said that right from the beginning,” said Christie. “We don’t pay for landslides, and we don’t invest in lost causes.”
A poll released Monday showed Astorino losing to Cuomo by 37 points, 60 to 23. Cuomo is liked by more than 60 percent of the state's voters.
Christie's decision will leave Astorino fighting an uphill battle without the fundraising and political capital a visit from the potential 2016 president candidate would provide. While whispers circulated about a rift between Christie and New York Republicans, or possibly an alliance of sorts between Christie and Cuomo, Christie insisted it was all about prioritizing the RGA's financial and other resources.
“If the New York race becomes competitive, I’ll consider campaigning in the New York race,” said Christie. “But right now, by the public polls, there’s a lot more competitive races like this one in Connecticut.” Real Clear Politics' average of polls shows a deadlocked race in Connecticut, with both candidates garnering support in the low 40s.
In response to Christie’s remarks, Astorino called on him to step down as chairman of the RGA, a position he has held since November 2013. “If Governor Christie is unable to help a Republican candidate for governor, then maybe he should consider stepping down as chairman of the RGA. That's his job,” Astorino said.
Both Christie and Cuomo are members of the Roman Catholic Church.
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Christie has faced strong criticism from social conservative voters for a sustained period of time. Last month, he named pro-abortion Republican Lee Solomon to the state Supreme Court. Earlier this year he nominated two judges that are in favor of same-sex “marriage,” and was accused of being too friendly and supportive of President Obama in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy damaged parts of New York and New Jersey.
It took Christie more than two weeks to say that he supports the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. Prior to that, he had asked “who knows” if the Court made the right decision in the religious freedom case.