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Christie at 100th Town Hall Aims for 2014 Shore Recovery

The Jersey Shore is likely to be fully restored by 2014, Governor Chris Christie said at his 100th town-hall meeting, where he highlighted his response to Hurricane Sandy that has earned him record approval ratings as he runs for re-election.

Christie, 50, wants to have New Jersey’s coast “functional” for this summer, he said today at a church in Manahawkin, a beach community hit by the Oct. 29 storm.

New Jerseyans must “adjust our expectations,” said Christie, a first-term Republican.

The town halls put Christie in front of voters as he pitches his agenda to mostly friendly crowds. He may find them crucial as he seeks a second term with the state’s jobless rate almost 2 percentage points above the U.S. figure and revenue $426 million below his targets midway through the fiscal year.

Christie took office in January 2010 and held his first town hall that September at a boathouse on Packanack Lake in Wayne. The town halls have generated 165 YouTube videos that have been viewed a total of 2.6 million times, according to Christie’s office. More than 30,000 people have attended.

His two meetings since Sandy have been on rebuilding. The storm left 2.7 million residents without power, crippled mass transit and leveled beach towns and boardwalks. For weeks afterward, Christie appeared daily for televised recovery briefings, surveying damage with President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and hugging victims amid the ruins.

Christie said Nov. 26 he will seek a second term to oversee the $36.9 billion job of rebuilding. He raised $2.1 million for his re-election bid through December, his campaign said yesterday. State Senator Barbara Buono, the only Democrat so far to declare her candidacy, has raised about $250,000.

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