New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump

February 26, 2016 Updated: February 26, 2016

Despite having been the front-runner for months in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump has collected few endorsements from elected Republicans, and far less than his opponent Marco Rubio. 

Rubio has been endorsed by a number of Senators and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whereas Trump has gathered largely scorn from the GOP establishment. 

But the pace has finally started to pick up this month, and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), better known as the first congressman to have vaped while legislating, endorsed Trump. 

On Friday, Trump received his most important endorsement yet, the first from a national political figure, from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Christie said at a news conference in Fort Worth, Texas, that Trump “will do what needs to be done to protect the American people.”

Trump was with him at the endorsement, calling Christie “my friend for many years, he’s been a spectacular governor,” the New York Times reports. 

The endorsement is likely to cement Trump’s momentum in the days ahead of Super Tuesday, when a number of states hold their primary simultaneously, and where Trump is leading by double digits in many of them, including Rubio’s home state of Florida. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.