Gov. Christie urged Republicans in Philadelphia on Sunday to boost their turnout in November, arguing that doing so could make a difference for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
"If the Philadelphia GOP just does a little bit to cut into the margin here in Philadelphia, Donald Trump will win Pennsylvania Nov. 8," Christie, who leads Trump's transition team, said at a fund-raiser for the Philadelphia GOP in Northeast Philadelphia. "If he wins Pennsylvania Nov. 8, he is going to be the 45th president of the United States. Take that to the bank."
Trump is trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton by an average of nine points in recent Pennsylvania polls, and it would take more than a slight improvement by the GOP in Philadelphia - where Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration, 7-1 - to turn the state in his favor.
Still, Christie on Sunday emphasized the role that local Republicans could play in the election and said Trump was not ceding the state, or the city, to Clinton.
Trump "is coming to Philadelphia, and he is coming soon," Christie told the crowd seated at picnic tables at the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein, where hundreds gathered for the 32nd Annual Billy Meehan Clambake, named for the late party chairman William Austin Meehan.
About 800 tickets were sold before the event, according to party officials, with prices starting at $100. A number of Republican candidates appeared, including U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who laid out his stakes as he told the crowd it would be "almost impossible" for Democrats to take control of the Senate "unless they defeat me and take this seat in Pennsylvania. We're not going to let that happen."
Republicans said they hoped they could improve the party's showing in Philadelphia in the election, predicting that Clinton would not match President Obama in Democratic turnout.
J. Matthew Wolfe, a GOP ward leader in West Philadelphia, said Trump could fare better than past Republican contenders in South and Northeast Philadelphia wards.
Trump is "energizing people who don't usually vote," he said.
Among those at the clambake was Patty Bispels, 48, of Frankford. She said she had voted only once before, for independent presidential candidate Ross Perot.
Trump "sold me at the [border] wall," said Bispels, an environmental manager who attended community colleges in Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
"He might say things that are wrong, but he's not going to do things that are wrong," she said, calling Clinton "a liar."
As he pitched Trump to the GOP crowd, Christie - who said he had just left Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. - pledged the Republican would "stand up for working Americans," calling Clinton "the candidate of the rich." He also accused media of slanted coverage against Trump, but proclaimed that "the New York Times doesn't elect the president of the United States."
While introduced as "Pennsylvania's second governor," Christie was also ribbed for his football fandom. After the governor - well-known as a Dallas Cowboys backer - spoke, Philadelphia GOP Chairman Joe DeFelice handed him an Eagles hat, and the band began to play "Fly Eagles Fly."