TRENTON - Gubernatorial candidate Christopher J. Christie has raised nearly twice as much as his main rival heading into next week's Republican primary election.

Christie, the former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, has raised more than $2.2 million in contributions and has received $3.1 million in public matching funds.

By comparison, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan has raised nearly $1.3 million for his campaign since last year and has received $1.5 million in matching money.

Reports released yesterday indicate that Christie has outspent Lonegan by about $450,000.

Democratic Gov. Corzine does not face serious primary competition, but has spent nearly $3 million on his re-election since January. Corzine is not accepting public money.

Also yesterday, Christie sidestepped questions about a close adviser's part-time political job that keeps him in the government pension system. It's the very situation Christie has labeled "pension abuse" and vowed to stop if elected governor.

Christie refused to say at a public event whether he would call on friend and fund-raiser John P. Inglesino to give up the pension credits he is earning as a $3,000-per-year political consultant for Republican Sen. Joe Pennacchio.

Christie said this week he had "no idea" that Inglesino, one of his closest campaign advisers and a friend for 15 years, remained in the government pension system because of a job with the state senator from Morris County, where Christie lives.

Inglesino, a corporate lawyer, began working for Pennacchio after losing re-election as a Morris County freeholder. Without the job, he would have been out of the pension system on Jan. 1, 2008, the day he was enrolled in the plan through Pennacchio.