(CNN) — Two days before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie heads to Iowa, a conservative group is launching digital ads that slam the potential 2016 Republican presidential contender over his Garden State record on judicial nominations.
A top Christie adviser defended the governor’s record and criticized the group.
The Judicial Crisis Network announced that it will go up Tuesday with digital ads that attack Christie for not making the New Jersey Supreme Court more conservative. The group says it will spend $75,000 to run 90 second and 15 second spots.
“Chris Christie promised to change New Jersey’s liberal Supreme Court. Five openings later: no change. Instead: a liberal Democrat for chief justice,” says the narrator in the ad.
Some conservative activists were mad at Christie for his renomination earlier this year of Democrat Stuart Rabner, the state Supreme Court chief justice. That renomination was part of a deal Christie made with the Democratic dominated state legislature that allowed him fill a court vacancy with a Republican judge.
The narrator in the 90-second digital ad goes on to say that “important issues like Obamacare are at stake in our courts. The next president of the United States may get to appoint as many as three U.S. Supreme Court nominees. A new majority. Call Chris Christie. Tell him to fight for judges who respect the rule of law.”
Top Christie political adviser Mike DuHaime said the Judicial Crisis Network “should get their facts straight.”
“Gov. Christie has nominated multiple conservatives to the Supreme Court but several have been blocked by the Democrat Senate. Yet, Governor Christie has still been able to get three Republicans on to the state’s highest court, making it more conservative. However, this group has been noticeably absent from any judicial fight we’ve had in New Jersey, showing up only to criticize after the fights are over,” DuHaime told CNN.
Christie, a pragmatic conservative who’s willing to compromise with state Democrats to get things accomplished, is anything but a crowd favorite among some on the right. But Christie was well received last month when he spoke at the fifth annual Road to the Majority conference, a major social conservative gathering which is organized by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.
“He’s the first pro-life governor of New Jersey since Roe v. Wade. He’s line-item vetoed state funding for Planned Parenthood every year he’s been governor. He vetoed a same-sex marriage bill that the Democratic legislature sent him. And he’s a faithful Catholic. We don’t agree with him on every issue, but we wanted to give him an opportunity to share his story and make his case,” Reed told CNN prior to the conference.
Christie heads to Iowa Thursday in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Christie will headline a fundraiser for longtime GOP Gov. Terry Branstad, who’s running for re-election this year. Christie will also help raise money for the RGA and for Republican Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.
The trip will create more buzz about Christie’s 2016 intentions, as Iowa’s caucuses are the first contest in the race for the White House. Later this month Christie headlines a Republican party fundraiser in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the primary and caucus calendar. It’s his second trip to the Granite State in the past month.