By Melissa Hayes, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) –
TRENTON, N.J. —New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is hitting the campaign trail for two Republican gubernatorial candidates next week in hopes of helping his party pick up more state leadership positions this fall.
The trips to North Carolina, where he will campaign for Pat McCrory, and Indiana, on behalf of Mike Pence, are the first of many Christie will make over the next two months for state and national candidates including presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I’m going to be going and focusing a lot on those states with important gubernatorial elections,” Christie said following a State House news conference Wednesday.
Christie got a head start with North Carolina while he was at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last month. It was one of many swing-state delegations he visited.
“Literally the presidency could be up to you and that’s an incredible burden on the people of North Carolina, but it is also an extraordinary opportunity to show leadership,” he told delegates, adding that he would visit the state as often as he’s needed this fall.
Christie said Wednesday he is still getting requests from Romney’s campaign and from various other races, who want his help as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He said his staff is working to put together a fall travel schedule around the Legislature’s calendar.
Between the Romney campaign and the Republican Governors Association, Christie gets requests from all over — more appearances than he could possibly make.
“We have requests from gubernatorial candidates from around the country, congressional and senatorial candidates from around the country,” Christie said during an Aug. 27 sit down with reporters in Tampa, Fla. “We’re talking about what are the priorities we’re going to be able to do and how much time are we going to devote to it.”
Christie said Wednesday he was not yet sure if his visits to North Carolina and Indiana would include campaign stops for Romney.
“Often what will happen is once I have a request to do that, then we will go back to the Romney campaign, ‘OK, I’m going to be in North Carolina, in Indiana, is there something you want me to do while I’m there?’ and coordinate that way and vice versa,” Christie said.
During the sit down with reporters the day before he delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention, Christie said he had traveled to 15 states and “raised tens of millions of dollars” for Romney so far.
“He’s invited me to be with him in some of the more difficult battles he’s had over the course of the last year in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in Florida, in South Carolina, in Illinois,” Christie said of Romney. “I’ve been all over the place for him, with him.”
Christie hit the campaign trail while he was in Florida, speaking to delegates from swing states and others.
“You have a much different job as citizens in a state of consequence,” he told a roomful of Michigan delegates. “And your job is to do something that’s more powerful than any 30-second television ad, more powerful than any piece of mail in the mailbox, more powerful than any robocall from some famous politician to somebody’s house.”
He also worked to motivate voters in other states, speaking to delegates from California, Alabama, Utah and South Carolina.
California GOP Treasurer Mike Osborn said Christie is a good proxy because people like his style.
“I think it’s refreshing to find a politician that’s plainspoken,” Osborn said at the California event Aug. 27. “So much of the time you have to try and decode the nuance and you’ll find that once you get through the nuance it’s pretty much the same. It’s not, ‘My position will be clearer once I realize what you think,’ and I think that they find him and his solid position refreshing.”
His message to swing-state delegates in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida and North Carolina was that they need to do more than just support Romney at a convention.
“You’ve got a responsibility to go up to that person in the checkout line of the supermarket and the parking lot of school picking up your children and you’ve got to look at them and say, ‘I know this guy. I’ve met him, I’ve looked him in the eye. I’ve judged his character. He’s the man we need to be the next president of the United States and I’m asking you to vote him,’ ” Christie said. “There’s nothing more powerful than that.”
He said it will take hard work, but it’s possible to help Romney beat President Barack Obama.
“You can make a difference,” Christie said. “He can win those states. It won’t be easy, nothing ever is, never easy to beat an incumbent president, especially an incumbent president that won the number of states this guy won the last time. It’s not going to be easy but it’s our job to make it happen.”