New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is back in New Hampshire today, this time clearly testing the proverbial first-in-the-nation waters as he strongly considers running for President.
Christie’s main event and lone public appearance will be keynoting the Merrimack County-Concord City Republican Committees annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord at 6 p.m. A crowd of about 250 is expected, according to Concord GOP Chair Kerry Marsh.
Christie was scheduled to hold a private meeting with between one and two dozen politically active business leaders in Bedford this afternoon and then meet privately in Concord with state Senate President Chuck Morse and several other GOP state senators.
Christie has been near the top of GOP presidential polling in recent months and appears to have weathered the controversy of the so-called Bridgegate scandal. But a struggling economy in New Jersey could be a drag on his effort to build momentum.
The most recent poll, released by NBC News and Marist on Sunday, had Christie, at 13 percent, fourth in a tightly packed field led by former Florida Jeb Bush at 18 percent, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 15 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 14 percent. The margin of error of 3.3 percent means the top four are in a virtual dead heat.
Christie visited the state five times last year in his former role as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He campaigned with candidate for governor Walt Havenstein and also with Senate candidate Scott Brown. But today he is back in his own right, to continue building support for his likely presidential bid.
He set up a leadership PAC, Leadership Matters for America, in late January and quickly brought on former NHGOP executive director Matt Mowers to head the New Hampshire operation. Mowers worked in Christie’s governor’s office and on his gubernatorial campaign in the Garden State.
Christie is tentatively scheduled to be introduced at the dinner by U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, who happens to be a New Jersey native.