Chris Christie’s fundraising tour on behalf of the Republican Governors Association is picking up steam, with the New Jersey governor slated to visit New Hampshire later this month.
The visit to the Granite State, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary, is sure to generate buzz that Christie, despite allegations that his office abused its power, is seriously considering a bid for the Oval Office.
The RGA told msnbc earlier this month that Christie also plans to visit the heavyweight states of Iowa and South Carolina in the near future.
Christie will head to the Manchester, N.H. area on June 20 and will endorse Walt Havenstein – one of two Republicans running for his party’s gubernatorial nomination. According to the Havenstein campaign, the event will entail retail campaign stops and a grassroots fundraiser.
“I’m excited that Gov. Christie is coming to the Granite State to support my campaign,” Havenstein said in a statement. “This is a sign that momentum is building and we are on our way to winning the governor’s office in New Hampshire.”
If Havenstein wins his September primary against Andrew Hemingway, he’s likely to go up against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Although Christie's popularity has taken a hit in the aftermath of the “Bridgegate” scandal, the RGA has highlighted its record fundraising hauls – $23.5 million in the first quarter – under Christie’s leadership. Last week, Christie was in New Mexico to stump on behalf of the state’s governor, Susana Martinez, before going to Tennessee to fundraise for Sen. Lamar Alexander.
In Iowa and South Carolina, Christie will fundraise on behalf of Govs. Terry Branstad and Nikki Haley, both of whom are up for re-election this fall. And on Wednesday it was announced that Christie will keynote the annual Faith & Freedom Coalition “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C., where thousands of evangelicals are set to gather and hear from potential 2016 candidates.
Christie, who once led the GOP in the nascent race to become the 2016 presidential nominee, has said he doesn’t intend to make a decision on a White House bid until a year from now. His administration is still being probed by federal prosecutors and a state legislative panel over the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge involving his aides and appointees, seemingly for political retribution. Christie has maintained he had no prior knowledge of the scheme and has since fired a top aide and cut ties with his former campaign manager. The governor has said he doesn’t think the lane closure scandal will make a difference to voters if he ends up making a bid for higher office.
The latest RealClearPolitics average of polling data from March 18 to May 4 surrounding the 2016 GOP presidential nomination shows Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Mike Huckabee tied in the lead with 13% support each. Christie came in fourth place behind former Florida Gov Jeb Bush.