One of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) top potential Democratic opponents is apologizing after saying the governor "prayed" for Superstorm Sandy to help paper over the state's economic woes.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said at a news conference Monday afternoon that Christie's "jobs package is a hurricane. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky that a storm came," according to

Sweeney then quickly backed off the assertion: “I shouldn’t say that. I apologize for saying that.”

Needless to say, this could do some damage Sweeney's already-uphill battle to defeat the hugely popular Christie in 2013.

The state did experience some rising unemployment numbers before Sandy hit, even as Christie remained popular through it all. His response to Sandy, however, has sent his numbers into the stratosphere and scared away top-tier challengers like Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who opted instead to explore a 2014 Senate bid.

A new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows every challenger trailing Christie by at least 30 points.

Correction: This post briefly said that Sweeney had already launched his campaign against Christie. He has not officially joined the race yet.