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By Caryn Shinske February 23, 2012

Senate Dems claim Christie wrongly takes credit for businesses' moves to New Jersey

In emphasizing New Jersey’s economic road to recovery, Gov. Chris Christie gave a shoutout to three companies during his State of the State address in January, associating their locations with his "Jersey Comeback" theme.

Specifically, Christie noted that Bayer put its North American headquarters in Morris County, Novo Nordisk came to Middlesex County and LG Electronics to Bergen County.

Senate Democrats also issued a shoutout on the matter, but theirs wasn’t as flattering as the governor’s.

"The governor is trying to take credit for recent actions taken by these companies," the Democrats said in a Jan. 18 news release. "The problem is that for all three companies, the decision to move or stay in New Jersey happened before Chris Christie became governor."

The Democrats correctly note that all three companies decided to make New Jersey home before Christie became governor, but at least two of the firms announced expansions after he took office, PolitiFact New Jersey found.

First, let’s look at when each company came to New Jersey.

Christie was elected governor in November 2009 and took office in January 2010.

LG Electronics came to Englewood Cliffs as part of a reorganization, according to a press release it issued in 2004. Bayer announced in 2007 that its U.S. headquarters would be in New Jersey. A year later, Novo Nordisk announced an expansion of its U.S. headquarters in Princeton.

So the three companies began putting down roots in the Garden State before Christie was elected governor.

But that doesn’t mean his office hasn’t had any involvement with keeping those firms here.

In Bayer’s case, the pharmaceutical giant announced in April that New Jersey would also become the "home" of Bayer HealthCare’s consolidated East-Coast business site. Bayer has a contingent purchase agreement for a property in Whippany, according to spokeswoman Rosemarie Yancosek. The deal is in the due diligence process, she said in an e-mail.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak did not respond to our request for comment but the governor said in an April Bayer news release, "Bayer’s commitment to stay and expand in New Jersey is another signal that our state is growing and that this administration’s job creating policies are paying dividends. Bayer’s planned investment in New Jersey will help keep us the premier state in the nation for the pharmaceutical industry in addition to creating needed jobs and giving a boost to our state’s economy."

Novo Nordisk spokesman Ken Inchausti told us in an e-mail that the Danish pharmaceutical company last October announced plans for another expansion, on Scudders Mill Road in Plainsboro.

It’s worth noting that the Democrats cited Novo Nordisk’s move to Princeton in their Jan. 18 release, but that’s in Mercer County. Christie’s address cited the company’s location in Middlesex County, which is the Plainsboro expansion announced three months ago.

Democrats spokesman Chris Donnelly declined to comment further on the release, which doesn’t clarify whether Christie was talking about the businesses’ initial arrival in New Jersey or expansion plans. But the governor’s words do give an impression that the companies are new to the state.

"People are recognizing the New Jersey Comeback all around the world … Bayer put its North American headquarters in Morris County, Novo Nordisk in Middlesex County, and LG Electronics in Bergen County," Christie said in his address.

LG Electronics did not respond to requests for comment.

Our ruling

The state Senate Democrats issued a news release in January claiming that Christie, in his State of the State address, was trying to take credit for Bayer, Novo Nordisk and LG Electronics coming to New Jersey under the "Jersey Comeback" heading. We found that the three companies arrived in New Jersey before Christie became governor and anyone heard of a "Jersey Comeback," but Bayer and Novo Nordisk announced expansion plans after Christie’s election. We rate the statement Mostly True.

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Our Sources

New Jersey Senate Democrats news release "Don’t Call It A Comeback, They Been Here For Years," Jan. 18, 2012, accessed Feb. 3, 2012, "State of the State 2012: Full text of Gov. Christie’s speech," Jan. 17, 2012, accessed Feb. 3, 2012, "How Bayer Picked the State for Its U.S. Headquarters," Jan. 29, 2007, accessed Feb. 3, 2012

LG Electronics press release, "LG Electronics Establishes North American Headquarters; Ahn Appointed CEO, LG Electronics USA, Inc.," Jan. 7, 2004, accessed Feb. 3, 2012

Novo Nordisk press release, "Novo Nordisk Expands U.S. Headquarters in New Jersey," March 5, 2008, accessed Feb. 3, 2012

E-mail interviews with Rosemarie Yancosek, Bayer spokeswoman, Feb. 3 and 6, 2012

Phone and e-mail interviews with Ken Inchausti, Novo Nordisk spokesman, Feb. 3 and 14, 2012

Phone interviews with Chris Donnelly, New Jersey Senate Democrats spokesman, Feb. 21 and 22, 2012

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Senate Dems claim Christie wrongly takes credit for businesses' moves to New Jersey

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