AP file photo

Feb 26, 2016 1:01 PM

Govs. Chris Christie, Paul LePage, endorse Donald Trump

NH1 News Political Unit

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Friday endorsed Donald Trump in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Christie, joining Trump at news conference in Fort Worth, Texas, said that the Republican presidential front runner "will do what needs to be done to protect the American people."

Christie added that Trump was the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.

Christie ended his own bid for the GOP nomination earlier this month, a day after a disappointing sixth place finish in New Hampshire's primary. Christie had placed all his chips in the Granite State, spending almost all his time, money and resources in the first-in-the-nation primary.

One of Christie's top surrogates was Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who early last summer was the first governor to endorse Christie.

Hours after Christie endorsed Trump, the outspoken Maine governor announced on the Howie Carr Show (heard in New Hampshire on 99.1 NH1 News) that "I firmly endorse Donald Trump."

LePage said he has respect for John Kasich, but said that the Ohio governor has no path towards the nomination.

Minutes later, Trump called into the radio program and praised LePage.

"He’s a great guy, respected by a lot of people. And really respected by Chris Christie," Trump told Howie Carr. "We’re really honored by that endorsement."

Maine holds its caucuses a week from Saturday. Massachusetts holds its primary in four days, one of 12 states holding GOP contests on Super Tuesday.

Trump is the overwhelming front runner in the Bay State, according to an average of the latest public opinion polls.

Trump joked that he's soaring in the Massachusetts polls “because Tom Brady likes me and I like Tom Brady”

NH1 News Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

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