Feehry: Rob Portman, Peter King Could Take Christie Spot

Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 05:58 PM

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If Chris Christie doesn't join the presidential race after coming under fire for Bridge-gate, who are the potential candidates to replace him?

In his blog, John Feehery tackled that question by outlining two separate constituencies that are fans of Christie.

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The first, he said, are those who see Christie “as a pragmatic, non-crazy, traditional Reagan conservative who believed that the government had an important, if limited role, in protecting the American people and promoting free enterprise.”

But Christie also pulled in the blue-collar Catholic vote that Feehery described as “ethnics who liked that the New Jersey Governor was [an] authentic guys-guy who would fight for their interests. These are the guys who wore hard hats when the Hippies were storming the streets in the Nixon years.”

Looking at candidates who could step in for Christie and appeal to those voters brought two names to Feehery’s mind – Rob Portman and Peter King.

Portman, Feehery said, brings extensive experience in the House and Senate and as a U.S. Trade Ambassador.

“He exudes competence, an attribute that has been sorely overlooked the last 6 years in Washington,” Feehery said.

He called King a more “intriguing” choice, a “street corner conservative, a former boxer at the University of Notre Dame, a political brawler who can take a punch and give a few back.” As chair of the Homeland Security Committee, King fought to protect the country both from terrorists and bad policies, he wrote.

King would also, Feehery said, take care of any “personality void” left by Christie.

Christie has been widely assumed as a presidential possibility, but recent events in New Jersey around problems with the George Washington Bridge have shed some concern that he won’t be able to pull in the necessary votes.

Christie’s upcoming road trip as chair of the Republican Governors Association, attending fundraisers and events, should be a good barometer of his support.

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