After a tough week abroad, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will travel out of state again on Monday -- this time to the early voting state of Iowa.
It will be the potential Republican presidential candidate’s sixth trip to the Hawkeye State since 2014, the latest stop in an ongoing cross-country tour that has raised Christie's national profile while sapping his popularity at home. Christie is headlining the Dallas County Spring Speaker Series at a hotel in West Des Moines.
While polls show Christie, considered one of the more moderate GOP hopefuls, trailing behind other potential candidates in Iowa, Tyler De Haan, chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party, said the governor could “absolutely” play well in the state in the lead up to the 2016 race.
“Anybody who is willing to come and work hard and offers a clear, concise and consistent message will do well in the state of Iowa,” he said. De Haan brushed off the bad press surrounding the governor over the last few days, including his controversial remarks in England about vaccinations and a New York Times report detailing the governor’s questionable luxury trips. In addition, federal investigators reportedly questioned a former assistant prosecutor who had previously brought a whistleblower lawsuit against Gov. Christie’s administration, sending a reminder that authorities are still looking into possible misdeeds.
“It’s still really early in the process. Every candidate who decides to throw their hat in the ring is going to have a bad week,” said De Haan. Christie is expected to hold a meet-and-greet at the West Des Moines Marriott with those who RSVPed for 30 minutes before delivering remarks for another 30 minutes.
Christie was last in Iowa on Jan. 24 when he joined other potential presidential hopefuls at Republican Rep. Steve King’s “Freedom Summit.” Christie said he believed he could win the state.
“I’ve been to Iowa 11 times in the last five years,” said Christie. “Now let me ask you this: If I was too blunt, too direct, too loud and too New Jersey for Iowa, then why do you people keep inviting me back?”
Meanwhile, a new poll shows Christie in fourth place among likely GOP primary voters in the first presidential primary state of New Hampshire – a state where Christie, a fellow northeastern Republican, could conceivably do well.
The Saint Anselm College/Bloomberg New Hampshire poll showed if a primary were held today, Christie would get 10% of the vote. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the top pick with 16%, followed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 13%, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 12%.
Christie is scheduled to be in New Hampshire on Feb. 16 to speak at the Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner in Concord.