TRENTON - New Jersey Republicans are cashing in on their biggest star: Gov. Christie.
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.
"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 sweatshirt.
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 grassroots 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.