The Quad Cities were in the national spotlight Thursday night, as a potential presidential candidate made his first prominent trip to Iowa.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie headlined a fundraising dinner at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds for Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
“This is a guy who has set an example for governors all across the country for both parties,” said Christie about Branstad.
Christie, who is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, encouraged the 250 to 300 people in the crowd to campaign for the Branstad-Reynolds ticket.
“You’re amongst the leaders in this state who will be able to look at others and say, ‘I’ve met the Governor. I’ve met the Lt. Governor. I’ve looked them in the eye. I’ve taken the measure of their character, and I’m not only voting for them, I’m working for them,” he said.
Often mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race, Christie only made one direct reference to 2016 in his speech.
“When we get done, on November 4, 2014, we will all turn our eyes towards 2016 and taking our country back, but first things first everybody,” he said.
“By him coming, he is really helping to support Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds and then of course there’s always the speculation, nobody can ever come to Iowa without people thinking, ‘Okay, we’re 15 months away from the caucuses, is he gonna run for president?’ But as he said, first things first, lets get through 2014,” said Judy Davidson, Chair of the Scott County Republicans.
An average of all the current polls on Real Clear Politics, shows that 8% of Iowans would vote for Chris Christie for president. Mike Huckabee leads the republicans with 16%, followed by Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
Christie made four stops in Iowa, Thursday, July 17, 2014, including at MJ’s Restaurant in Marion, Iowa.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I get these folks from the press who follow me around, asking me, ‘Do people in Iowa love you, governor?’ and ya know, and I say, ‘Heck, I don’t know, we just met, but the early indications are good.'”