NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, March 7, 2015, 8:47 PM
Gov. Christie brought a bit of Jersey baggage along on his latest visit to Iowa.
A pair of Garden State demonstrators ripped the governor Saturday at the Iowa Agriculture Summit over his handling of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding on the Jersey Shore.
“Finish the Job in New Jersey,” read a sign waved by demonstrator Amanda Devecka-Rinear as Christie answered questions for the Des Moines audience.
She was joined by Joe Mangino of Beach Haven West, N.J., during the Republican governor’s 20-minute stay at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The two stood up to interrupt Christie, who responded by joking with event moderator Bruce Rastetter.
“I’m glad to see that New Jersey has come,” the governor said. “How great is that? Great to have you here. And I think you’ll understand that I’ll deal with you the same way here as I deal with you in New Jersey.”
That wasn’t exactly true. Christie, who ordered another Sandy activist to “Sit down and shut up!” last year in Belmar, N.J., waited for police to escort the pair out.
“I think maybe he’s been told to tone down his temper,” said a third Jersey protester, Lisa Stevens of Little Egg Harbor, N.J. “His approval ratings are dropping significantly.”
Christie’s popularity is at an all-time low among his Jersey constituents —with just 37% giving him a favorable rating.
Stevens said the demonstrators were upset that likely GOP presidential candidate Christie is putting the White House above the Jersey shore homes of his constituents.
Christie spent all or part of 137 days out of his home state in 2014.
“Our governor is spending too much time out of state, and has to finish the job in New Jersey,” said Stevens, who couldn’t get into the event. “We have to keep sending a message that you can’t walk out on our state.”
The Fair Share Housing Center, a group critical of New Jersey’s post-Sandy recovery plan, says 15,000 shore families are still waiting for reconstruction of their homes.
Once the protesters were led outside, Rastetter cracked that he thought the crowd of 1,000 was Iowans-only.
“My people follow me everywhere, Bruce,” Christie said. “It’s fabulous. I’m magnetic, Bruce. They can’t stay away from me.”