Just because New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn’t running for president doesn’t mean he won’t be paying Iowa a few visits.
Christie heads to the Hawkeye State Monday for two events, an education conference in Des Moines and a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Steve King. His appearances have the potential to overshadow campaign stops in Iowa by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, both vying for the Republican nomination. Iowa is home to the first electoral contest in the Republican presidential primary. (Perry loves states’ rights so much, he doesn’t care about gay marriage in NY)
“Any time Christie comes out here, he’s obviously going to take some air out of the room,” Doug Gross, a former Iowa Republican nominee for governor, told the Associated Press. “He again creates this sense that the current field isn’t complete or isn’t sufficient.”
Many Iowa Republican activists are dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates. Donors and political leaders in the state have met with Gov. Christie on a number of occasions to discuss a run. Christie has repeatedly said he has no intention of running, citing unfinished business in his first term as New Jersey’s chief executive.
One group of Iowans even traveled to Princeton to talk with the governor, even though Iowa Republicans are accustomed to having candidates coming to talk with them.
That group is attracted to Christie because of his hard-line stance on state budget issues, as well as his highly publicized confrontations with public school teachers and union members, caught on camera and spread through YouTube.
And yet the very things that have made him so popular as a possible presidential nominee have hurt his popularity in his own state. Christie’s approval numbers fell below 50 percent during recent months, while his disapproval numbers have risen.