He was introduced by agribusiness millionaire Bruce Rastetter – the leader of the effort to draft Christie in 2012, at a time when the first-term governor had become a Republican Party star. On Tuesday, they will endorse him at a press conference in Des Moines.
“My thought process has been similar, frankly, to what we were thinking in 2011, when the country needed someone who was a bold, very direct leader who had accomplished things”, he added.
Rastetter, who hosted a town hall event with Christie Monday night, said he hoped to get Christie in front of more Iowans. He now serves as CEO of The Summit Group, based in Alden, Iowa.
Still, while these endorsements matter, most agree Christie will still have to invest more time in Iowa.
Mr. Christie finally found the time to attend his first state event in 51 days because he has been so obsessed with becoming president while spending most of his time campaigning in other states.
A spokesman said that the Iowa governor “routinely meets” with candidates and that “there was no discussion about the governor endorsing”.
Despite the think tank’s protests, such a deal may make the most sense politically for Christie – both on the campaign trail and at home in New Jersey, where lawmakers are eager to strike a deal and put the transportation-funding issue behind them.
“Five years later, Chris Christie is still the candidate who doesn’t need an interpreter for people to know where he stands and what he means”.
“The bottom line is that cases of wealthy people leaving New Jersey because they think their taxes are too high are rare”, he said.
He was asked how it feels that four years ago Iowa Republicans were chasing him, and now he’s chasing Iowa Republicans.
Branstad remains neutral, but Christie now has managers of the previous campaigns of the governor of Iowa, a former chief of state and the top two fundraisers that are working on his campaign.
Christie said Tuesday he plans to “compete hard” for votes.
Christie polls eighth among the GOP presidential candidates nationally, according to RealClearPolitics’ average, and is sandwiched between Ohio Gov. John Kasich in seventh place and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who ranks ninth. “The social conservatives might have an advantage because they might have only two viable options to look at”. To fix the state’s transportation-funding problem, his organization prefers extending New Jersey’s 7 percent sales tax to gasoline purchases, with no other strings attached. Iowa kicks off the nominating process on February 1, followed by the Granite State a week later.
“We’re going to show very good numbers this quarter”, Washburne said, declining to give specifics.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done over the course of time in reacting to challenges whether manmade inside my administration or natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy”, Christie says.