A group of influential Republican businessmen flew to New Jersey yesterday afternoon in an attempt to convince Governor Chris Christie to run for president. The group, which included mostly Republican donors, became smitten with Christie after he keynoted a fundraising event for Governor Branstad’s campaign last fall.
The courting of Christie is nothing new, but this is the first time a group of people from Iowa or any other state has actually sat down with Christie to encourage him to run. Christie’s willingness to confront difficult budget issues head on has made him a star within the Republican Party.
Christie has taken hard line in reducing spending in New Jersey. He’s halted a $9 billion train tunnel project between New York and New Jersey. He’s also confronted the teachers’ union and other public employee unions, which are confrontations that most elected officials try to avoid.
Even though Christie’s star shines bright, many don’t believe he will actually run for president in 2012. TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that a recent attempt by Congressmen Steve King to meet with Governor Christie was denied. Apparently Christie is interested in running for president, but would rather run in 2016 instead of against an incumbent Democrat in 2012.
If Christie is successful in reforming his state and gets re-elected in 2013, he will be a clear front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2016. If this group of donors is serious about finding a candidate to join the race who could go toe-to-toe with President Obama, they should have traveled south to the Governor’s mansion in Austin, Texan, instead of heading to Trenton, New Jersey.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is coming off an impressive re-election campaign in which he not only was re-elected, but also withstood a primary challenge by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, whom he defeated by over 20 points. Unlike Christie, Perry has shown interest in running in 2012. More importantly, a Perry candidacy would fill a gaping hole in the Republican presidential field.
The current field of Republican candidates includes a businessman who’s never held elected office (Herman Cain), two members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul), a former U.S. Senator (Rick Santorum), and two former Governors from blue states (Pawlenty and Romney). What the field lacks is a conservative governor from a red state, and Perry fits that profile perfectly.
While it seems unlikely that Governor Christie will join the 2012 field, he actually reiterated that he would not run in 2012 after dining with the Iowa crew, there is a good chance that another high profile candidate will join the race. Maybe instead of candidates needing to be convinced by outsiders, some other qualified candidate will just recognize that America can’t withstand another four more years of President Obama and decide to run on his or her own.
If my history serves me correctly, Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan didn’t need to be convinced to run for president. Instead, they knew what needed to be done and stepped up to the plate. That’s what the current crop of candidates have done, and that’s what we should expect of any additional candidates who join the race.
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