Iowa backers discuss presidential run with Chris Christie

PRINCETON, New Jersey Wed Jun 1, 2011 10:43am EDT

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) and his wife Mary Pat Christie arrive at the Embassy of Italy for an MSNBC after-party following the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington April 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) and his wife Mary Pat Christie arrive at the Embassy of Italy for an MSNBC after-party following the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington April 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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PRINCETON, New Jersey (Reuters) - As Republicans scramble to find a strong candidate for the 2012 presidential contest, a group of Iowa Republicans met with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday to urge him to enter the race, despite his stated disinterest.

Half a dozen businessmen from Iowa, which holds the vital first nominating contest in the U.S. presidential race in February, met with Christie for about 2 1/2 hours over dinner at the governor's mansion to discuss entering the contest.

Iowa entrepreneur Bruce Rastetter, who participated in the dinner, told the Des Moines Register that Christie had again said he would not run for president but that he had accepted an invitation to speak at an event in Iowa in July.

"He understands the country's problems but feels very strongly that he has that commitment to New Jersey to continue to serve," Rastetter said.

The Iowa businessman declined to speak to a group of reporters waiting outside the governor's mansion following the meeting.

Christie, known for his blunt style, has been a rising star in the Republican Party since taking office last year with a low-tax, lean-government agenda, and erasing a record $11 billion budget deficit while limiting annual increases in the state's high property taxes.

Still, polls show his popularity waning in New Jersey and ratings agencies have downgraded the state's credit rating. The state's highest court just ordered him to spend more money on education.

Christie has said repeatedly that he is not seeking the White House. "I'm not ready to be president," he said last month.

Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the New Jersey Republican Party, called the dinner a social event.

"It doesn't hurt for Governor Christie to know other people who are influential in the Republican party," Gorka said.

The Christie speculation underscores the dissatisfaction among some Republicans with the nascent field of 2012 hopefuls including Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Representative Michele Bachmann also are potential candidates.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (7)
fromthecenter wrote:
They already made this into a movie.. Run fat boy run

May 31, 2011 12:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Christie is just the beginning.
These guys are being voted into office by the intelligent (and shrinking) part of the population that understands you can’t spend more than you have forever.

Jun 01, 2011 8:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Look to Christie’s policies. He is not a Conservative. He is an ideologue. He has no Conservative principles. He lies to the NJ public and conceals conflicts of interest as he enriches his friends and his Commissioners resign in disgust. Iowans should not make the mistake of drafting someone who they don’t really know. http://justinalpertesq.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-charter-schools-medical-marijuana.html

Jun 01, 2011 11:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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