Assuming he wins reelection, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is next in line to lead the Republican Governors Association (RGA) heading into the 2016 election cycle, putting the powerhouse organization at his disposal as he makes his decision whether to run for president.
In fall 2012, Christie orchestrated the move to be the RGA vice-chairman for 2013 and 2014, working under current chairman Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“Christie is set to take over in 2014 — a clear sign he may seek re-election in 2013. Christie has said he’s still mulling that decision,” the Associated Press wrote on Oct. 8, 2012. “Governors learned of the plan in an email from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the association’s current chair.”
The AP noted that if the GOP’s presidential nominee Mitt Romney “loses in November,” which he did, both Jindal and Christie “are Republican rising stars considered likely White House contenders in 2016.”
After he got the RGA leadership slot, Christie infamously posed for photographs with President Barack Obama in the last days of the election in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey. Republican insiders lambasted Christie for this, arguing it hurt Romney’s prospects of winning the election.
GOP figures also questioned Christie’s loyalty to Romney after he did not mention the party’s presidential candidate in his convention keynote speech until the 16-minute mark and used it as a platform to tout his own record. Christie also reportedly threatened to drop the F-Bomb during his speech if a video he requested was not shown.
“The RGA was supportive of the Governor Christie in his race as a challenger in 2009,” Christie adviser Mike DuHaime told Breitbart News this week. “His involvement in the RGA has been a way for him to interact with other governors while also supporting challengers like he was.
“In terms of his becoming Chairman next year, he has long been in leadership of the RGA as a member of its executive committee,” he continued. “Also, he served as Vice Chairman of the RGA for the 2012 cycle, after Gov. Perry resigned so he could run for President.”
DuHaime added, “given the gains made in 2010 in governor’s races, 2014 is a very important year for the party with so many incumbent governors running for re-election, as well as some key open seats and challenger opportunities.”
The New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin speculated a few days ago that Christie is gearing up for a race that seems bigger than a gubernatorial reelection bid, hiring “specialists in microtargeting who worked for the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush” and building “a sprawling, 50-state fund-raising network, including major Republican players like Harold Simmons, the billionaire backer of a Karl Rove-led ‘super PAC’ that spent $105 million in the 2012 race.”
DuHaime would not comment on 2016 presidential speculation surrounding Christie, as he said the governor’s team has “an election here in 78 days that we are all focused on.”
But he did say Christie should lead the RGA as its future chairman, regardless of his potential 2016 ambitions. “Regardless of future speculation, Governor Christie is a logical choice to lead the organization considering his strong four year record, effective communication skills on behalf of GOP governors and his ability to draw attention to key 2014 races,” DuHaime said.