Chris Christie’s presidential campaign, barely visible in most Iowa polls, got a major boost Tuesday as six influential state Republicans said they’re behind him.
They were among Iowa Republican leaders who had sought to get Christie, the governor of New Jersey, into the race four years ago. Some have close ties to Gov. Terry Branstad, the governor of Iowa.
“We encouraged him to run for president because we believed he had a bold leadership style, he had conviction and principle and he would make a great president and so as we think about four years later in this cycle, all those same things hold true,” Bruce Rastetter, one of the group members, said at a Tuesday news conference in Des Moines, northjersey.com reported.
"What we've looked at and come around to is similar thoughts as in 2011. We need blunt, bold leadership.” said Rastetter in a news release. He led an agriculture summit for presidential candidates in Iowa earlier this year.
We need somebody that can actually govern
Bruce Rastetter, Iowa Republican activist, on Chris Christie
Christie is averaging 1.3 percent in recent Iowa polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com, good for 13th place.
The support from the influential six could have implications for others vying for support from the Republican establishment, notably Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, had led in most Iowa polls as recently as July, but faded and dropped out earlier this month.
Associated Press reported that real estate developer Denny Elwell was wooed by six candidates, but sided with Christie.
“Even though he's not the leader, we feel like he should be the leader,” Elwell said, according to AP. “I think we've got a lot of good candidates, but Christie is really our choice.”
Christie was thought to have been hurt by a scandal involving the George Washington Bridge in his state. AP cited Gary Kirke, a real estate developer, saying that concern has gone away.
Also backing Christie Tuesday were Jim Kersten, a former state senator, Mikel Derby, a Department of Transportation liaision and Dr. Mike Richards, vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Wild Rose Casino & Resorts.