New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hits the road for GOP candidates, set to make stops in several Midwestern states including Iowa

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie continues to say he’s not interested in running for president, but the ever-popular Republican known for cutting spending and taking on his state’s teacher union has been stumping across the country over the last month for candidates in a month-long tour that will bring him to Iowa next week.

Christie, a rising star among conservatives, campaigned yesterday for Ohio gubernatorial hopeful John Kasich. He has also recently traveled to states like Pennsylvania, California and New Mexico for GOP hopefuls, and as The Daily Caller has learned, his endorsement tour will continue in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland and Iowa.

The governor’s office on Thursday referred questions regarding the campaign swing to an aide at the New Jersey Republican Party, who was unable to provide additional details.

While any visit to Iowa — which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses — by a national figure usually arouses suspicious of national ambitions, Christie maintains he has none.

“I just don’t want that, that badly right now, I just don’t,” Christie told an Ohio audience yesterday, in reference to him being interested in running for president. “I’m thrilled to be the governor of New Jersey.”

But that hasn’t stopped a number of conservatives from suggesting that Christie would be an ideal choice to challenge President Obama in 2012. Asked during a panel discussion several weeks ago on the Tea Party movement to name several leaders he would like to see challenge President Obama, former GOP House leader Dick Armey, for example, floated Christie’s name.

Despite the love from conservatives, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told The DC last month that he thinks the odds are slim that Christie would make a run, at least yet. “I think it’s unlikely,” Sabato said. “It’s possible Christie could be chosen as VP, though he’s unlikely to carry New Jersey for the GOP presidential nominee unless 2012 is a Republican landslide year.”

Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist who worked on Christie’s campaign, told the Courier-Post in Pennsylvania that the governor is much sought-after by GOP candidates this cycle.

“He said, ‘I’m going to come in and I’m going to cut the budget,’ and he did it,” DuHaime said of Christie.  “That resonates. Every state is trying to bring him in.”