By Cheryl Hehl, Staff Writer
LINDEN – A crowd of 300 people gathered near town hall waited patiently Wednesday for Gov. Chris Christie to step from his Black Coach campaign bus in front of town hall, warmly embrace Mayor Rich Gerbounka and then make his way along Wood Avenue for a meet and greet.
Linden was on the list of Christie’s seven day 90-stop statewide campaign bus tour leading up to Tuesday’s election. The governor is running for a second term and, according to a statewide poll, has a 24-point lead over Democrat challenger Sen. Barbara Buono who has served two decades in Trenton.
Walking side by side with Gerbounka, Christie stopped to acknowledge anyone who called out his name, warmly shaking hands and thanking each and every person for coming out to see him.
“Thank you folks, thank you so much for waiting out here, I appreciate it very much,” the governor said to one throng of people, stopping every foot or so to pose for a picture with those that requested it.
Gerbounka beamed as he walked with the governor, urging those gathered to “vote for the governor, he has been good for this city.”
As the governor slowly made his way to the Beyond the C restaurant on Wood Avenue where he spent about 10 minutes, onlookers continued to wait outside, many of them holding “Christie for Governor” posters.
After leaving the restaurant, Christie jogged across the street while waving and thanking everyone for coming. He warmly embraced Gerbounka once again, climbed aboard his bus, and then turned once to wave to the crowd of cheering onlookers who shouted, “See you in the White House.”
According to a Christie spokesperson, the governor is working to attract the support of independents, Democrats and minorities. Linden, with a population of more than 40,000, has 27 percent Black and 25 percent Hispanic residents. Although Linden has 12,190 Democrat registered voters compared to 1,423 Republican, there are 8,792 registered independent voters.