As covered earlier this year, Governor Chris Christie continues to draw attention from several prominent members of the Republican Party as well as donors. Already in 2011, he has talked with supporters from Iowa and South Carolina; early voting states in 2012; as well as former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Others like Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have also ventured to New Jersey to talk politics with Christie.
With that said, it was only a matter of time before another top Republican was to come calling Christie. Some supporters of GOP candidates Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN6), Texas Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX14), and former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum have all tried to make headway in the state and would obviously like Christie to publicly endorse them. Christie has been coy thus far with not only his desire to run, but also his desire to endorse a nominee this early.
However, the fresh face of the GOP field over the last month has been Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry has gone out on a limb a few times with bold statements. Perry’s latest move will feature him traveling up to the Garden State to sit down with Christie. Christie himself admitted to other campaign teams calling his office to have similar dinners and conversations as Perry is planning to have with Christie.
As the two sides discussed a tenative date; a major conflict arised with one date: it happened to be his wife and New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat’s birthday. As a smart man and husband, Christie quickly eliminated that date from consideration.
With the two governors planning to meet, Christie issued a short statement about Governor Perry and another top GOP contender. He expressed,
“I know Rick well” and “If she (Michelle Bachmann) wants to come, I’m sure we’d be happy to take the call.”
Christie’s willingness and timing for these dinners might speak to how he might be leaning early. Both Romney and Perry continue to sit atop most early polls and could divide the moderate and conservative wings of the GOP. Romney finished second to U.S. Senator and eventual 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ) three years ago. He would likely have an edge amongst a slightly more moderate thinking base in the state. Hence, why Perry’s visit could be key for him creating momentum in states like New Jersey with a governor that seems to have some sway outside of the state and could provide a necessary boost in a state like New Jersey as the primary cycle nears an end next year.