Even as people are contemplating the surprise results of the Florida Presidency 5 straw poll, the New York Post, citing a “well-placed Republican source in direct contact with Christie’s camp,” has once again raised the possibility of New Jersey’s governor entering the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Politico, noting that Christie has said he’s been consorting with “big-money backers and Republican influence-makers,” reports that he is indeed “reconsidering pleas” to run, despite Christie repeatedly denying that he is and even proclaiming “What can I do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running?”
William J. Palatucci, Christie’s former law office partner and close confidante, responded to reports on the conservative website Newsmax about Christie running by saying that “Newsmax is wrong. Quote me.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s candidacy has failed to clear a basic bar with elites and some donors, and his shoddy debate performance in Orlando has only highlighted the window for someone who Republicans searching for a Mitt Romney alternative can rally around.
Christie’s potential candidacy has been an increasingly fevered fantasy of a certain cadre of some media and business elites — mostly based in New York, with a smattering of California technology and entertainment players — since last summer. That’s when he showed up at a Sun Valley conference hosted by the investment banker Allen and Co. and wowed the crowd, including Rupert Murdoch, with what many in attendance described as a nimble mind and a speaking style that was both articulate and blunt-spoken.
Back in August before the Iowa straw poll, Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall noted that it would be well to keep an eye on the “Murdoch primary” — on whom Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s other media outlets would dub as the Republican contender. The New York Post “speaks for the Murdoch clan” but so does the Wall Street Journal (which is, after all, located in Christie’s home state of New Jersey, as I was reminded last night on sighting the offices of Dow Jones International while sitting in a long line of non-moving cars on New Jersey’s Route 1). The WSJ’s Paul Gigot recently wrote: “for a man who says he’s not running for president, Chris Christie isn’t keeping a low profile.” Indeed, this coming Tuesday, Christie is scheduled to speak at the Reagan Presidential library in Simi Valley, California.
Christie’s appeal to the likes of big Republican donors and Rupert Murdoch lies not only in his aggressive taking-on of public sector unions, but in his “swagger,” in his blunt, take-no-prisoners, readily sound-byte-able rhetoric. A first-time governor, Christie has proved very divisive, infuriating many New Jerseyans for, among other things (that helicopter), canceling the building of a crucial railroad tunnel linking people to their jobs across the Hudson River in New York. Nonetheless, he has maintained strong support from the state’s well-heeled suburban enclaves. Christie has never been tested on the national stage and certainly not about foreign policy: His brassy speaking style has left many Jerseyans weary but he still has many admirers. How might his contentious governing style that tends towards bullying play in Peoria?
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Photo by Bob Jagendorf