Gov. Christie will return to New Hampshire next month, joining other prospective Republican 2016 candidates – and at least one confirmed – at a “leadership summit” in the state that hosts the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Christie on Tuesday confirmed his attendance at the April 17-18 event, said a spokesman for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.
It marks Christie’s second announced trip to New Hampshire this year, after speaking at a Republican event there in February. The April event is expected to feature more than two dozen speakers, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Gov. Christie’s supporters have formed a super PAC that can accept unlimited donations in advance of an anticipated presidential campaign, an announcement that follows unfavorable poll numbers about the New Jersey governor’s 2016 chances.
The super PAC, America Leads, was started by Phil Cox, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association. Cox worked with Christie while the governor was chairman of the RGA last year.
“I’ve established this super PAC because it’s time for America to lead again, and I believe Gov. Christie is exactly the kind of strong leader we need at this critical point in our nation’s history,” Cox said Thursday. “He’s provided effective, conservative leadership in a deep blue state, bringing people together to solve difficult problems and get results. That’s exactly the kind of leadership we need in America today, and we hope he decides to run.”
As Gov. Christie courts Republicans across the country -- most recently in Iowa -- a new poll suggests he faces an uphill battle.
More than half -- 57 percent -- of Republican primary voters surveyed in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday could not see themselves supporting Christie for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, compared to 32 percent who could.
That gap placed Christie behind other well-known prospective Republican candidates in the poll, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Of Republicans surveyed, 49 percent could see themselves supporting Bush, while 42 percent could not.
New Jersey’s fund for road and bridge projects is funded through June 2016 and is “not a crisis,” Gov. Christie said on a radio program Wednesday night.
“This is not something to rush on or rush through,” Christie said on NJ 101.5’s Ask the Governor. “It’s not a crisis at the moment, because we’re funded pretty well now.”
That hasn’t been the characterization of transportation advocates and Democratic lawmakers – or of Christie’s own transportation commissioner, Jamie Fox, who said at his confirmation hearing last fall before the Senate that “we’ve reached the end of the line.”
Has Gov. Christie found common ground with a longtime foe – the state teachers’ union?
In his budget address today, Christie is expected to announce that the New Jersey Education Association is working with a commission he appointed to recommend changes to the state pension system, though an NJEA official said Monday that the union had not endorsed a plan.
Christie’s speech comes a day after a state court judge ruled that the governor illegally cut a payment into the system that had been mandated by a 2011 law he signed – and has touted as an example of bipartisan leadership.
Gov. Christie will return this week to a forum that allows him to highlight his blunt-talking brand: town-hall-style events.
Christie will hold an event in Moorestown Wednesday, the day after he delivers his budget address to the Legislature. In addition to discussing his budget proposal, Christie will take questions from the audience, according to his office.
The event will mark the Republican governor’s 128th “town hall” – but only his first since August. Christie was on the road in the run-up to the November elections, traveling the country and campaigning for candidates as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
As he returned to New Hampshire Monday, Gov. Christie listed elements of a possible 2016 platform – including changing the U.S. tax system – to Republicans who will play a role in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary next year.
Christie also attacked President Obama at length on foreign policy, asserting that if he ran for president and were elected, he would "reestablish American leadership around the world." But that wasn't all Christie talked about in Concord, where he spoke at a Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner and took several questions from the crowd. Other topics included:
Common Core: One woman, posing a question to Christie on educational standards, first thanked him for his “strong support” of Common Core – a set of grade-specific goals for K-12 students adopted by most states. The issue has drawn protest from conservatives who see the standards as a loss of local control. Teachers unions, meanwhile, have voiced opposition to tests linked to the standards.
Gov. Christie and his backers have started a federal political action committee, an official step toward launching a presidential campaign.
The committee – named Leadership Matters for America – allows the Republican governor to raise money, pay for travel and hire staff. Paperwork was filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission, said Bill Palatucci, a close adviser to Christie whose law firm will serve as the committee’s counsel.
Records of the committee did not yet appear on the FEC website Monday morning, though a website has been created. The committee’s formation was first reported early Monday by the Wall Street Journal.