The nation's Republican governors aren't racing to back New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's potential 2016 presidential campaign, even after the work he did over the past two years as head of the Republican Governors Association (RGA).
The nation's 31 Republican governors have an ever-expanding potential GOP field to choose from, reports The Wall Street Journal
, and while they praised Christie's work as RGA chairman and offered encouragement for his future plans during this weekend's annual governors' meeting in Washington
, they said it's too soon to commit to helping him in 2016.
Further, some of the governors who praised him said they are concerned about his rough edges, which they said may alienate potential voters.
"Christie is a bigger-than-life personality," said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who said Christie will be a "player" in 2016. "He calls them like he sees them. He sometimes bumps up against people and he rubs them wrong."
And Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said she does not have a favorite in this 2016 race, and while Christie has helped GOP governors, his appeal doesn't reach some people.
"There are some people who love that style, because they want to see somebody strong and take-charge," Fallin said. "There are others who may prefer a different type of personality in a presidential candidate."
But there were some governors at the meeting who said they will support Christie if he runs for the presidency, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who called Christie a "kind of guy that could provide some real leadership for the country ... I'd be willing to help him in any way he asked me to."
As leader of the Republican Governors Association for the 2014 election cycle, Christie helped bring in $102 million toward GOP campaigns.
But with Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Pence of Indiana, and former Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida and Rick Perry of Texas all considering campaigns, Christie's relationships with GOP leaders won't guarantee they will support him, said Kevin Madden, a top aide to Mitt Romney back in 2008, when he was seeking the GOP nomination after serving as RGA chairman.
"He has to go back to these same governors and these same top activists in the states and, based on the relationships he has, basically start over and give them a plan of action," said Madden.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who is up for re-election in 2016, told the Journal that the decision won't be an easy one.
"Scott Walker has proven himself as a person who can deal with crisis and work in a bipartisan way and communicate effective change," said McCrory. "Chris Christie has a presence that’s second to nobody, whether it be in a roomful of businessmen or a roomful of farmers. Jeb Bush displays amazing expertise of issues.
"I’d be proud to share the stage with any one of them."
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