New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was in Des Moines last night head-lining a fundraising dinner for Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad. Christie proved to be a major draw for the Branstad campaign. More than 700 people were jammed into the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines. Branstad noted in his remarks that the event was the largest and most successful that he has ever had.
Governor Christie has been making the rounds for Republican candidates lately. Before heading to Iowa, he campaigned for Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor in Wisconsin. In addition to Wisconsin and Iowa, Christie has also made campaign appearances in California, Ohio and New Mexico in recent weeks.
Christie’s travel schedule has already made some in the media speculate that he is considering a 2012 presidential run. Like in other states, the New Jersey Governor has quickly tried to dispel the presidential rumors. In Wisconsin he said, “I’m neither ready for the job nor do I want it badly enough to do what it would take to run.” Last night he told reporters, “No chance. No way. No how. Door’s closed.”
Instead of preparing for a presidential run, Christie is interested in electing more Republican governors across the country. He told the crowd, “Electing Republican governors on November 2nd is the single surest way to bring overnight change to our country.”
Governor Christie spent a considerable amount of his 40-minute long speech talking about the situation he has had to deal with in New Jersey. He has become known for his confrontational approach. In his short time in office, he has been more than willing to take on the news media as well as New Jersey’s powerful teachers union. He used his own experience in New Jersey to talk about what Terry Branstad will face once elected.
Unlike other sitting governors who typically don’t criticize their colleagues, Christie wasn’t afraid to take Culver to task. He urged those in attendance to do all that they can before Election Day, because if you wake up on November 3rd and Chet Culver’s still your governor, it is your own fault. Christie added, “It is put-up or shut-up time for the Republican Party.”
The media’s insistence that every politician who sets foot in Iowa is somehow a presidential candidate can be annoying. However, the idea of Christie as a presidential candidate would be interesting to say the least. Those in attendance last night walked away being very impressed with him, yet being a great draw for a fundraiser and running for president in Iowa are two different things.
Christie is personally pro-life, but in his campaign for governor he told voters that he wouldn’t use the office of governor to “shove it down people’s throats.” Christie did eliminate state funding for abortion service providers like Planned Parenthood in New Jersey’s 2011 budget. He has also said that he would veto any bill that would legalize same sex marriage. However, he does support New Jersey’s law that allows civil unions. As a presidential candidate, his positions on those issues would be highly scrutinized.
For now, Iowans probably shouldn’t expect to see Chris Christie out pounding the pavement for their support in the Iowa caucuses any time soon. Instead, they should hope that Terry Branstad takes a page out of Christie’s book and is willing to make the tough, and sometimes unpopular, decisions to clean up the mess that Governor Culver has left for his successor.
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