Perry fails to jar loose former Iowa state Senator, who remains committed to Christie Prez candidacy

Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly told reporters he won’t run for president and that’s final, but don’t tell that to members of the Draft Christie movement out of Iowa, who still want Christie to run in 2012 and who don’t mind – at least for now – denying Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Amid published reports detailing Perry’s efforts to corral the seven members affiliated with the Draft Christie movement, former Iowa state Sen. James Kersten (pictured) said he is not willing to commit to Perry – or anyone else, for that matter – who is not named Gov. Chris Christie.

“I never say never in politics and I am holding out hope that he would change his mind,” Kersten told, referring to the New Jersey governor.

The former state senator from Fort Dodge, Iowa was among the seven Iowa power players who traveled to the New York Metropolitan Area in May to meet with Christie and urge him to pursue the presidency.

He said Christie represents “a good mix” of presidential contenders Perry – who has surged in the Iowa Primary polls since formally entering the contest two weeks ago – and Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

“I’ve not heard a speaker like him since Ronald Reagan,” the former senator said of Christie. “I want a candidate who can cross party lines. Certainly Gov. Perry has a record of good executive leadership and a good track record.”

But he still questions in part how Perry will be able to transcend his evangelical base to appeal to the whole country, and is convinced Christie remains the best person in that regard.

Kersten said he has not talked to Perry himself since the Des Moines Register reported on the Texas governor’s efforts. He noted that to his knowledge none of the members of the movement – some of whom have spoken to Perry – had opted out of the Christie club despite Perry’s attempts to jar them loose.

He said he didn’t think the members of the group would issue a joint decision. “It’s an informal group and we are keeping our options open,” Kersten said. “But there is still 25-30% (of the GOP Primary voting population in Iowa) that is undecided on a candidate.” Perry fails to jar loose former Iowa state Senator, who remains committed to Christie Prez candidacy