Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker endorses Chris Christie

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BOSTON – The Bay State’s popular Republican governor, who for many months remained on the sidelines of the 2016 campaign, on Friday endorsed New Jersey governor Chris Christie for president.

Joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters at a State House press conference Friday afternoon that, among the current field, Christie alone stands as someone who can unite the Republican party and simultaneously collaborate with leaders across the political aisle, the State House News Service reported.

Baker said that the party’s current frontrunners Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are “not folks who’ve demonstrated an ability to collaborate, work across the aisle and to get stuff done in a public setting.”  He declined to discuss if he would vote for the eventual Republican nominee if it is not Christie.

The latest Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll released Friday shows Trump, the New York businessman, leading the pack in New Hampshire with support from 29 percent of those surveyed.  Florida senator Marco Rubio ranked second in the latest poll with 19 percent. Christie consistently has polled in sixth place.

Baker’s five-year-long relationship with Christie, who — like Baker — works with a Democratic-controlled legislature, strengthened after the candidate campaigned for Baker during his unsuccessful 2010 bid against incumbent governor Deval Patrick.

When Baker ran again in 2014, a Christie-led Republican Governors Association contributed $11 million to Baker’s campaign against former Attorney General Martha Coakley. That same year, former Gov. Mitt Romney joined Baker at an RGA fundraiser in Boston for Christie.

“I really appreciate the fact that he’s been somebody who has reached out to me at various points along the way,” Baker said, pointing to last year’s Massachusetts blizzard when Christie called to offer advice from his experience in preparing for Hurricane Sandy.

Baker is not the only Massachusetts Republican to endorse a candidate in the GOP race for president. A number of Massachusetts pols have have signed on to help candidates including Trump, Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio governor John Kasich, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and business woman Carly Fiorina.  Bay State citizens will head to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 1.

Polito and Baker will join Christie in New Hampshire at a rally Saturday morning, where they will speak on his behalf.