New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's deliberative approach toward a possible 2016 presidential candidacy has some of his potential backers worried.
Christie is telling top supporters and donors not to worry about being able to raise money because there is plenty to go around.
The approach is aimed at allaying the concerns of allies worried that the sudden emergence of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney as potential candidates is putting pressure on donors to select a candidate right away.
But it also "risks inviting suspicion that the governor is hedging his bets after a bruising year in New Jersey," according to The New York Times.
Problems that could delay or derail a possible campaign include the state's weak economic performance and repeated credit downgrades
from credit agencies such as Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's.
Also, the still-pending federal investigation of lane closings to the George Washington Bridge could result in charges against former allies and aides to Christie, creating a taint of corruption.
Christie supporters say that after his 2013 re-election campaign and his successful tenure as head of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), he already has the rudiments of a national campaign structure.
They say that the expansion of the field, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and a number of current GOP governors, has left many Republicans willing to take their time in deciding who to support in 2016.
In addition, Christie backers argue that Bush and Romney are under even more pressure than the New Jersey governor to show momentum. Bush supporters, they say, have made it clear they hope to deter other potential candidates from running for president by demonstrating that he has powerful financial support.
But the series of meetings Bush held during a trip to New York last week did not involve direct requests for donations.
Likewise, Romney's recent New York trips did not yield concrete commitments from Republicans like New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Christie supporters also describe Romney's foray into the 2016 campaign discussion as having been "poorly executed," The Times reported. Some of the former Massachusetts governor's guests said they had been told he just wanted to catch up with old friends and resented the implication that they were on board for Romney in 2016.
Christie backers also emphasize that he promised fellow Republican governors long ago that he would not permit his presidential ambitions to get in the way of his RGA duties, which end next Wednesday with the inauguration of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — a surprise victor in November who received strong support from Christie.
Next week, Home Depot co-founder Kenneth G. Langone, a top Christie backer, will host a dinner for Christie with prospective donors.
Several days later, Christie will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit co-hosted by Republican Rep. Steve King, a veteran congressman popular with tea party supporters.
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