By Ben Kamisar - 07/06/15 01:09 PM EDT
Gov. Chris Christie came out of the Independence Day holiday on Monday swinging against two of his GOP presidential rivals.
Christie accused Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzPence offers Cruz 'heartfelt thanks' for Trump endorsement Cruz: Trump hasn't apologized for personal insults Cruz says he forgives Trump for attacks on family MORE of hypocrisy after the Texan warned that candidates shouldn’t be attacking other Republicans in light of Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Mexicans.
“With all due respect, I don’t need to be lectured by Ted Cruz.”
He added that Cruz “sponsored primary ads against sitting Republican United States Senators,” including Alexander (Tenn.), who fought off a Tea Party challenge on his way to reelection in 2014.
A Christie spokesman said that the governor was referring to the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that’s taken on Republican establishment candidates and propped up Tea Party challengers.
The group endorsed Cruz in his 2012 Senate bid. He recorded an ad for the Fund touting Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R), who later lost the Senate primary to Rep. James Lankford.
The group never helped to raise contributions for Alexander’s challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr (R), or made a direct endorsement in the race.
The closest the SCF got was a $46,000 ad buy in 2013 bashing Alexander for voting for a budget resolution that included funding for the Affordable Care Act.
And while Cruz’s father spoke at a Nashville Tea Party rally that Carr also spoke at, neither Cruz nor his father gave an official endorsement in that race.
“Governor Christie is a good man and we appreciate more than he knows his taking the time to point out Senator Cruz's unceasing efforts to help get more conservatives elected to Congress,” Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman, told The Hill, in response to the charges.
The Senate Conservatives Fund criticized Christie over the remarks.
“What Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing and for him to raise money off it is disgraceful,” he said.
“We are going to look back on this and he should be in front of hearings — in front of Congress — if there is another attack.”
The jabs come as Christie, whose brand of politics is both brash and blunt, hits the ground running after officially launching his bid last Tuesday.
He’s currently in 10th place in the crowded GOP field, according to a Real Clear Politics analysis of recent polling. That’s the cut off for the main stages for the first two Republican debates, so Christie will be looking to shore up his numbers to grasp a secure hold onto the debate stage.
This story was updated at 6:04 p.m.