While failed U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene of South Carolina hoped to create jobs by manufacturing action figures of himself, a Christie line of merchandise is generating revenue for the state GOP party.
"He's a rock star and New Jersey rarely produces one,'' said political scientist Patrick Murray of Monmouth University. "You're not going to just sell these things to New Jerseyans. This guy's got a national reputation.''
The available products include T-shirts, mugs and lapel pins. Each features a silhouette of New Jersey and the words "Chris Christie, governor'' in blue, white or gold. The clothing is navy blue.
Prices start at $2.95 for a bumper sticker and climb to $45.95 for a hooded sweat shirt. First-day sales on Monday topped $500.
Rob Cressen, executive director of the state party, said the merchandising idea came when homegrown Christie products began appearing on the Internet. He said the governor's office approved the design but left it to the state committee to choose the merchandise that would be sold.
"The grass roots demand for these items is remarkable,'' said Cressen. "People are enthused about the work of their governor and want to take pride in their state.''
Plans are already under way to sell caps. Items will be added based on demand.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said it's no surprise that the State Republican Committee has decided to extend the brand of the most popular member of the state party to come along in recent memory.
Democratic State Committee Chairman John Wisniewski said Christie is New Jersey's first merchandising governor. He wondered whether kiosks filled with Christie products would pop up at airports.
For now, the Christie merchandise is available online at http://www.governorchristiestore.com/.