New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his second trip to Maryland to support Republican Larry Hogan's bid for governor on Tuesday, as Hogan avoided commenting about an endorsement from the National Rifle Association a day earlier.
"You know, we're really focused on the governor's visit here today,'' Hogan said, when asked by a reporter inside the Original Pancake House in Bethesda about the NRA endorsement. "We're happy to have his support. It's great that the Republican Governors Association believes in this race.''
Christie is chairman of the governors association.
"I have complete confidence in Larry in his ability to win this race,'' Christie said in his second trip to Montgomery County, Maryland's most populous.
Hogan's opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, has criticized Hogan for his stance on gun-control issues in television ads. Brown's campaign repeated criticism Tuesday that Hogan has refused to release an NRA questionnaire that earned him an A- grade.
"This begs the question -- what exactly is in Larry Hogan's NRA questionnaire that he's so desperate to hide? Maryland voters deserve to know, no matter how badly Hogan doesn't want them to ever find out,'' said Justin Schall, Brown's campaign manager.
Hogan, who has said he would not seek to repeal provisions in a sweeping gun-control bill enacted last year in Maryland, contends Brown is simply trying to distract voters from more important issues like the state's economy. Christie also said Brown was trying to distract voters with the issue away from tax increases approved during Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's tenure.
"I'll just say if I had the lieutenant governor's record and I had to run for a third Marty O'Malley term, I'd be trying to talk about anything else in the world but that, too,'' Christie said. "So, I admire the lieutenant governor for trying to change the subject, but the fact is he's the one with a record. He's the one with the record in messing up the rollout of the health care exchange. He's the one with the record of raising taxes to exorbitant levels in Maryland.''
Christie is a potential 2016 presidential candidate. Asked if he is running for president, Christie said he hasn't decided.
"Fact is, I'm not going to think about that `til beginning part of next year,'' Christie said. "I'm going to be in 18 states in the month of October. From here, I'm going to Illinois and Michigan today, so I've got a lot of work to do in the next 14 days to help elect as many Republicans into governors' seats as I can, and so I won't waste any time thinking about that until later, but no question, I will think about it, but I haven't made any decision.''
Christie attended a fundraiser in Potomac, Maryland, Tuesday morning for Hogan.
Hogan supporters crammed inside the pancake restaurant to greet the two men.
Mila Tobin, 67, said she plans to vote for Hogan.
"I find his platform on reducing our taxes most refreshing and most needed, because I think we're being taxed to death,'' said the Chevy Chase resident who is a member of the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club.