Christie defends Perry on indictment

Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie (R-N.J.) on Monday became the latest potential presidential opponent to lend his support to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) in the wake of his indictment by a grand jury for allegations of abuse of power.

“I have complete faith and confidence in Governor Perry's honesty and integrity. And I'm sure that will be confirmed over time,” the New Jersey governor said in a statement issued to The Hill by the RGA.

A Texas grand jury on Friday indicted the potential 2016 presidential hopeful on two felony counts: coercion of public official and abuse of official capacity. The charges relate to his veto of funding for public corruption prosecutors in the state, which critics have alleged was intended to pressure a local district attorney to resign.

Perry called for the resignation of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she was arrested and pleaded guilty in April 2013 to drunken driving.

The indictment marred what was otherwise a good week for Perry, as he came out of a tour around Iowa with glowing reviews from attendees and observers. And it’s sure to hang over his visit to New Hampshire for a state party rally this weekend, though New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn called the allegations “ridiculous” in a Monday statement, and said the party is “pleased to welcome” him.

Though the indictment could provide an opening for Perry’s potential presidential opponents, none have so far taken the opportunity to criticize him.

Along with Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have all issued strong statements of support of the governor.

One potential opponent who’s remained notably silent on the issue is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who memorably feuded with the governor last month after he publicly criticized Paul’s foreign policy views in an op-ed. 

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