Christie’s Surprise Iowa Campaign Stop

Matt Katz, WNYC | October 5, 2014 | Katz on Christie

Gov. Chris Christie found another reason to go to Iowa.

Christie made his second of three scheduled trips to Iowa this campaign cycle on Friday for an event that was sold to the national media as a rally for incumbent Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in Christie’s capacity as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Instead, the local news media actually portrayed it as a campaign event for Rod Blum, a congressional candidate. This would therefore be the first campaign event for a congressional candidate that Christie has headlined.

And most significantly, the event was held in Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation Republican caucuses for president in January 2016. Christie is mulling a run, and the event Friday allowed Christie to mix with local activists and land a headline on the cover of the Des Moines Register the following morning. The story said Christie “is a nationally famous surrogate for top-of-the-ticket Republicans across the country, making his visit on behalf of a congressional candidate all the more unusual.” The article attributed his visit to the presidential election, and quoted Republicans excited about Christie’s possible candidacy.

In boosting Blum, a Republican running in a Democratic district, Christie drew parallels with himself, a Republican in a blue state. “So with 32 days to go, don’t let anyone tell you he can’t win this race,” Christie said . “He can and it’s up to each and every one of us.”

Notably, Christie has yet to hold a rally for Republican congressional candidates in New Jersey. In the southern part of New Jersey, in the third district, Republican Tom MacArthur is in a neck-and-neck race against Democratic Aimee Belgard for an open congressional seat.

Christie hung out for 20 minutes after the Iowa event ended, shaking hands and taking pictures with two women who attached a pole to an iPhone to better take selfies with Christie.

Branstad was also at the event, which gave Christie the opportunity to boost his candidacy, too. Christie campaigned for Branstad in July, and he will be back at the end of October to headline a “birthday party” fundraiser for the Iowa governor.

Today Christie is in Connecticut, campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley.

Follow all of Christie’s travels at the Christie Tracker’s feature, Is Christie In New Jersey?