Republican Donors in Iowa Pursue Chris Christie for President

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 9, 2011   |   11:23AM   |   Des Moines, IA

Apparently unhappy with the state of potential Republican presidential field, some big-time Iowa donors are reportedly pursuing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and making overtures for him to get in the race.

Despite Christie repeatedly saying he will not be mounting a GOP presidential campaign and despite his short time on the job as the state’s fairly newly-elected governor, a handful of Iowa Republicans are looking to persuade him into running to give the first presidential battleground state another option heading into the August straw poll in Ames.

Normally, candidates pursue donors, but the Associated Press indicates seven Iowa Republicans it characterizes as “business conservatives who favor nominees more identified with the philosophy of low taxes and limited government than with cultural issues.” They are said to be meeting with Governor Christie, who is pro-life, at the New Jersey governor’s mansion on May 31.

“There isn’t anyone like Chris Christie on the national scene for Republicans,” Iowa energy executive Bruce Rastetter told AP. “And so we believe that he, or someone like him, running for president is very important at this critical time in our country.”

“He clearly understands smaller government, less government spending, job creation, and how to create a better education system – certainly, all the things I and those accompanying me care about,” Rastetter added, praising Christie’s “blunt, direct leadership style.”

Christie has appealed to economic conservatives with his non-nonsense style and active work to tackle the financial problems plaguing the Garden State. But he has also pleased pro-life advocates with a speech to one of the leading pro-life groups in the state emphasizing his abortion opposition and with his repeated efforts to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Still, in a March interview with CBS News, Christie made it clear he is not running for president.

“I have people calling me and saying to me, ‘Let me explain to you how you could win.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re barking up the wrong tree. I already know I could win,'” he said. “That’s not the issue… I see the opportunity both at the primary level and at the general election level. I see the opportunity. But I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t.”

In that speech to pro-life advocates earlier this year, Christie continued the strong relationship he’s developed with pro-life advocates in the northeastern state by attending and speaking at the Rally for Life sponsored by New Jersey Right to Life.

“I stand with you,” on opposing abortion, the governor told the crowd, and “with each and every one of those precious human lives.”

“What we need to do each and every day is to live our lives in a way that encourages everyone to understand why this cause is so important,” Christie said, according to the Asbury Park Press. ”To show that we respect the life of every human being, and that every human being is one of God’s creatures and deserves the love and respect that God gives to all us.”

“As long as I have the honor of serving as governor, you will know you will have someone sitting in that office who understands the issue, who appreciates it and will continue to stand up and speak strongly in favor for the protection of every human life in New Jersey.”

Christie said elected officials who are pro-life must “speak loudly and clearly (and) leave no ambiguity about how we feel about this issue.”

Talking about his own views, Christie added: “As you all may know this is not an issue that I always understood nor was I always on your side. It is an issue I came to grow and learn about in a very personal way. My daughter Sarah will turn 15 in February. When I heard her heartbeat at three months in our doctor’s office, it was at that moment that it became clear to me that being on the sidelines on this issue was not something I could live with. I needed to speak out in favor of a very simple idea, that that child is a life which deserves protection.”