Gov. Chris Christie diagnoses “anxiety” in America but some of his staunch home state allies worry about “uneasiness” in their own New Jersey Republican Party.
GOP insiders here wearily acknowledge troubles that persist for Christie as he attempts to bench press a presidential bid. The governor’s poll numbers are in a downward skid and he still hasn’t shaken the damage of the George Washington Bridge scandal, Republican allies of Christie concede.
According to one Republican source, the governor is aware of what the source characterized as “uneasiness” among members of the state senate GOP caucus. Talk about Republicans joining with Democrats to override upcoming votes coupled with Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s (R-21) dining with a Jeb Bush fundraiser earlier this month have Christie on high alert.
The governor scheduled a meeting with Republican leaders this week – an initial session planned for this afternoon was likely cancelled on account of inclement weather conditions – to make sure they will continue to back him.
“The message is apparently going to be something like ‘you guys have got to be with me,'” a source told PolitickerNJ.
“He senses they are getting uneasy and restless,” the source added.
Uneasy enough to back someone else for president?
“No,” said the source. “The sense really is that he’s not going to win but people don’t want to piss him off – so why back someone else? The reaction to his presidiential aspirations at this point in GOP circles is lukewarm to ‘he’s wasting his time.’ The thought is that he’s doing it because what else does he have to do? The bottom line is it’s difficult to run for president when the news out of your home state is grim.
“If New Jerseyans dont like him, why are Iowans and voters in Wisconsin supposed to like him?” the source added.
Another source didn’t project the same downbeat mood about Christie’s presidential ambitions, insisting that the prez field is “wide open.”
“I’m sure people will give him money to hedge their bets,” said the second Republican source. “He wants to go for the golden ring, not VP and not AG. The better he does early people will be willing to give him time but if poll numbers start sinking, or continue sinking, there will be a reevaluation.”
As assessments continued behind the scenes, party leaders received an email this morning from Christie political confidant William “Bill” Palatucci, formally announcing the formation of “Leadership Matters for America PAC, Inc.” with Gov. Chris Christie as the Honorary Chairman.
“This important organization has as its mission to help restore America’s role in the world, our economy and to fundamentally change government,” Palatucci said in the emailed message. “Its goal is to bring real leadership back to this country and to identify and support candidates who share that vision.”
As part of the message, Palatucci urged participation by the county party chairmen in a Wednesday conference call with the governor.