Video: Chris Christie lands the Shaq endorsement

“I don’t endorse many politicians. But Chris Christie is different,” Shaq says. “He’s working with me to bring jobs back to our cities and on a new program to help kids in tough neighborhoods get ahead. Governor Christie’s provided more funding for schools, given parents more choices in what schools their kids can go to, and merit pay for good teachers. He’s a good man. Excuse me, he’s a great man. Please join me in supporting Chris Christie–the Governor.”

Not all endorsements are created equal–and some celebrity endorsements can backfire (see Clint Eastwood’s interrogation of an empty chair at the 2012 GOP convention). But Shaq backing Chris Christie sends a message that should resonate in both the Garden State and throughout the national Republican Party.

Amid a fall of plummeting poll numbers and signs of a GOP pummeling coming in Virginia and New York City elections, Chris Christie is cruising to a landslide victory over his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono. While the strident social conservatism of Ken Cuccinelli scares off swing voters in the Old Dominion and Joe Lhota is being attacked on Gotham airwaves as a son of the Tea Party, Chris Christie is defying political gravity. His unapologetic center-right governance appeals beyond the base, providing a rare bright spot as the GOP tries to get out of the demographic trap of being the party of old white men.