Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will endorse Steve Lonegan in New Jersey's special Senate election but Chris Christie will not be attending the event.

Governor Christie at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark (YouTube)

The Lonegan campaign confirmed a Politico report that Rand will make the endorsement on Friday at a campaign event in Clark that Governor Chris Christie has been invited to attend.

During an appearance Tuesday at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark,  Christie says he has declined the invitation in order to celebrate his wife's 50th birthday with a weekend away that starts Friday. Telling reporters it was a "tough choice," Christie told reporters, "in a choice between Mary Pat Christie and Rand Paul, it's no choice for me."

Awkward Moment Averted

It could have been a politically awkward situation as Christie and Rand have been trading long distance barbs over security and spending on Superstorm Sandy relief.

Christie led the pleas of northeast politicians for Congress to approve a relief plan that came under attack from fiscal conservative Paul.  “In order to have enough money for national defense, which I think is a priority for the government, you have to be willing to cut spending in other places,” Paul continued. “And Governor Christie and others have been part of this ‘gimme gimme gimme’,'give me all this money.’

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on CNN (CNN)

Lonegan shares with Paul the view that the federal bill was full of political pork and says he would have voted against the measure.

Christie said of Paul, "I find it interesting that Sen. Paul is accusing us of having a “Gimme, gimme, gimme” attitude toward federal spending when in fact New Jersey is a donor state and we get 61 cents back on every dollar we send to Washington. Interestingly, Kentucky gets $1.51 on every dollar they send to Washington,” he said.

During Townsquare Media's Ask the Governor program, Christie rejected Paul's invitation to patch things up between them over beer. “I’m running for re-election in New Jersey,” Christie said during “Ask the Governor.” “I don’t really have time for that at the moment…I’ve got work to do here.”

The pair, widely viewed as strong potential candidates for a 2016 presidential run, have not met face-to-face. Christie has endorsed Lonegan and promised to make additional campaign appearances before the October 16 special Senate election but political pundits say that is unlikely to happen.

Christie's opponent in the gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono, has already tied the two Republicans together while campaigning.