NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s No. 2 on Monday knocked down fresh speculation that the Republican was considering a run for the White House in 2012.
Reports that Christie might run have been swirling for months, fueled by dissatisfaction among some Republicans with the current field of 2012 hopefuls as conservatives seek a candidate who can unseat Democratic President Barack Obama.
The latest speculation increased on Monday when former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean said Christie is thinking “very seriously” about entering the presidential race.
But New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who would become the state’s governor if Christie vacated the office, emphatically denied he was running.
“The governor is not running for president,” she told reporters in the state capital, Trenton.
ABC reported Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the New Jersey Republican Party who is traveling with Christie, as saying: “Nothing has changed with regards to the governor’s decision not to run for president in 2012.”
Kean, an informal longtime adviser to Christie, told the National Review Online on Monday: “He’s giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago.”
“More and more people are talking to him,” Kean said. “He’s getting appeals from major figures around the country.”
Kean, who could not immediately be reached, did not predict if Christie will enter the race or not.
Conservative Republicans are wary of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, complaining he lacks charisma and that some of his policies when he was governor of Massachusetts were too liberal.
Recent entrant Texas Governor Rick Perry, the front-runner, is a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement but some fear he lacks the discipline needed for a successful national campaign.
Christie, known for his blunt style, dampened talk of his run over the summer, insisting he was not ready to be president.
He has been a rising star in the Republican Party since taking office in New Jersey 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.
Reporting by Mark Egan and Dave Warner in Philadelphia, editing by Eric Beech