Even as the Christie camp continues to see New Hampshire as friendlier turf for a Northeastern governor from the establishment wing of his party with a reputation for blunt talk, one adviser, who requested anonymity to discuss operations, said the campaign—while tempering its expectations—has committed to competing in Iowa.
“I don’t want to make predictions that are unattainable,” Christie told the group at Marshalltown’s Legends Sports Grille, one of his stops on a two-day year-end swing through the eastern end of the state. “What I need to do in Iowa and New Hampshire is to do well in both states. Because the field is so big that if you don’t do well in both places, you’re going to have a hard time staying in this race.”
Iowa, which will hold its caucuses Feb. 1, hosts the first balloting of the presidential campaign season; New Hampshire will hold the nation’s first primary eight days later. Both are considered key to winnowing a Republican field that started with 17 hopefuls and dropped to 12 Tuesday when former New York Governor George Pataki said he was suspending his campaign.
Barbara Hovland, chairwoman of the Cerro Gordo County Republican Party and a Christie backer, said the governor’s best hope lies in the two-thirds of caucus-goers who told the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll they still have not firmly committed to a candidate.