Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. - Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Monday retained his perfect record against veto override attempts as Democrats hastily pulled a pig confinement bill rather than fall two votes short.

The vote was suspended at 25-11. Two Republicans abstained from voting, and two members were absent.

The Democrat-led Legislature has never succeeded in overturning Christie though the lawmakers have tried repeatedly, such as when they attempted to restore a $7.5 million Christie cut to women's health care clinics.

Democratic Sen. Ray Lesniak, the sponsor of the breeding sow bill, said he'll try again before the session ends in early January.

The measure under consideration Monday involves criminalizing the confinement of pregnant pigs in crates so small they can't stand up and turn around. The offense would be punishable by fines of up to $1,000.

Christie, in his veto message, said animal care standards are best left to state agriculture experts. Democrats at the time accused the likely 2016 presidential candidate of pandering to Iowa farmers.

Lesniak said the vote was "not about the governor" but about an inhumane, outdated and unnecessary agricultural practice.

Republicans, however, said they believed politics were at play since it's unclear whether gestational crates are used anywhere in New Jersey.

Christie was headed to Arizona, where he will become chairman of the Republican Governors Association later this week.

Lesniak is likely able to muster a vote from Sen. Barbara Buono, the outgoing Democrat who unsuccessfully ran against Christie and was not at Monday's session. One more Republican vote would be needed.

The measure also would have to be approved by 54 of 80 members of the Assembly.