Mel Evans, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2010 file photo, New Jersey Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos, R-Middletown, sits in the Senate Chambers at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. Kyrillos will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to run against Sen. Bob Menendez in November 2012. Two people familiar with Kyrillos' plans told The Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, the 51-year-old Monmouth County legislator is switching the federal exploratory committee he formed months ago to a campaign account, leaving no doubt about his intent to run.

TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie has wasted no time endorsing longtime friend Joe Kyrillos (KIR'-ill-ohs) for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey.

Christie made it official while campaigning with the GOP state senator in Union County this week. The governor says New Jersey "would be extraordinarily well-served" if residents were represented by Kyrillos in Washington.

The 51-year-old is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez in November. Menendez is better known and better financed, having amassed nearly $7 million for the race.

Kyrillos, who kicked off his campaign Feb. 1, hasn't submitted a campaign finance report.

The veteran New Jersey lawmaker and former state GOP chairman has been Christie's closest Republican ally in the Legislature. And Christie and his wife were match-makers for Kyrillos and his wife, Susan.