New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says it's important for Mississippi Republicans to turn out next Tuesday and elect Phil Bryant as governor.

Christie spoke to about 250 people Thursday at a rally in Bryant's home of Rankin County, a Jackson suburb that's one of the most reliably Republican parts of Mississippi.

Bryant is the current lieutenant governor. He has outspent Democrat Johnny DuPree more than 7-to-1 in the race to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Haley Barbour.

DuPree is mayor of Hattiesburg.

Barbour says a Republican victory in Mississippi next week will be the start of knocking Democrat Barack Obama out of the White House in 2012.

When Barbour chaired the Republican Governors Association in 2009, the RGA pumped millions into New Jersey to help Christie unseat Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.