National Review spoke with nearly half the GOP county chairmen in New Jersey, all of whom said Christie had influenced their decision. Christie is the leader of the New Jersey Republican party, and state Republicans say that has bred loyalty. “He took us out of the hinterlands of not having the governorship for eight years,” says Keith Davis, chairman of the Atlantic County GOP. Trump will have the county line in Atlantic County, having won the county convention, and Davis will be on the ballot as an alternate delegate for Trump.
“Once the governor made the decision to go in the direction that he’s going, it was my first instinct to go that way,” says Douglas Steinhardt, chairman of the Warren County GOP, who is backing Trump. The county party itself has not officially endorsed, but Steinhardt is personally supporting Trump, and Trump will have the county line.
“[Christie] ran for president, so he has better insight into who the best candidate for president is than certainly I do or probably anybody else in New Jersey, for that matter,” says Camden County GOP chairman Tom Booth. “And so I trust that his endorsement for Donald Trump for president came after careful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of all the other candidates.” Trump will have the county line in Camden County. The decision to endorse him, Booth says, was made unanimously by the members of the county executive committee, and was vetted by municipal chairs on a conference call.
Scanlan says there was no persuasion from the Christie campaign. “He didn’t know. He didn’t tell me what to do. I didn’t call and ask him what to do. But I knew what he did,” he says.