One week after declaring that he is definitely not running for President in 2012, it has been revealed that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be endorsing Mitt later today at an event in New Hampshire.
This announcement comes a day after Romney received the endorsements of former senators Judd Gregg Of New Hampshire and Mel Martinez of Florida. Both men have significant influence with different critical voting blocs within the respective states. But Chris Christie’s endorsement goes far beyond any one state. In fact, it may ironically have little bearing on the nomination in Christie’s own state of New Jersey, where the Republican presidential primary is held in June and is one of the very last primaries contests to be held. But Christie’s endorsement is likely to have a big effect in the Northeast and beyond.
Many Republicans have become enamored with Christie because of his relatively fiscal conservative policies, willingness to take on unions, and most of all, because of his refreshingly open, honest, and blunt political dialogue. That bluntness has allowed many Republicans and Independents to trust Christie as a political leader who says what he means and means what he says. Such a perception will go quite far with many voters if they hear Christie offering high praise of Romney and see him committing himself to Romney’s candidacy.
Christie’s endorsement will not only give Romney an overall image boost, it will also open up a new channel of money that will flow right into his campaign treasury. Many big donors who have had been urging Christie to run for President have been keeping their powder dry, but now with their man behind Romney, their money will also soon back him.
The most surprising thing about this announcement is not that Christie endorsed Romney.
Romney provided Christie with a great deal of support during his 2009 race for Governor. On top of that, the next Republican U.S. Senate nominee from New Jersey is likely to be a state senator named Jope Kyrillos. Kyrillos is a good friend of Christie’s and was his 2009 campaign chairman. In 2008, Kyrillos was also the New Jersey state chairman of Mitt Romney’spresidential campaign. So the ties to Romney and Chrsitie are many and tight. The really surprise here was that the announcement came so soon. While it took Christie many, many months to be sure about his own presidential candidacy, he apparently did not find it hard to decide that Romney was the right man for job. But the decision to make the endorsement public now, was probably more Romney’s than Christie’s. It signals Romney’s awareness of the fact that if he does not consolidate his support early and rack up early victories, he risks losing the Republican nomination if it remains too competitive for too long.
With Christie’s endorsement in hand, the next important jewel in the Republican Quadruple Crown of endorsements will come from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who’s early state primary is a critical prelude to Florida and the South. A win in South Carolina,be fatal to some candidates and would expedite Romney’s road to the White House. Haley has recently gone out of her way to state that she will be endorsing a businessman for President. That could mean Mitt Romney or Herman Cain. But it’s important to remember that as he was for Christie, Mitt was a big help to Nikki Haley in her run for Governor last year.
Then there is Florida’s Marco Rubio.
Like Nikki Haley, Rubio is a darling of the TEA movement, but he is considered everyone’s number one choice for Vice President. If possible, President Obama would even dump ol’ Joe and put Rubio on the ticket as his number two man. Rubio is seen as a bright, level headed political leader, with solid conservative credentials and with his Cuban background, has the ability to open doors for the Republican Party to the Hispanic community. And Florida is also an important, delegate rich state that by winning, would make Romney a clear early frontrunner for the G.o.P. presidential nomination.
The fourth and in may ways one of the most important jewels in this endorsement crown is Sarah Palin.
Her endorsement will force anti-establishment and Tea movement activists to at least reconsider their support of Romney. Many have been unwilling to do so because of his Massachusetts healthcare plan. But with Sarah Palin’s seal of approval, many of those skeptical of Romney will at least have some cover when it comes to voting for Romney.
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