In the run-up to the race for the White House in 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to blanket New Hampshire, an early primary state where voters tend to be more amenable to Republicans who are not staunch conservatives, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"New Hampshire is attracted to what I call a rational conservative," former Sen. Judd Gregg told the newspaper. "Certainly the independent vote in New Hampshire is fiscally conservative and socially moderate. It’s not stick-in-your-eye social conservatives."
Christie on Monday made his first trip to the Granite State since the November midterms, where he told a group of Republicans in Concord that in the first 100 days of a Christie presidency, he would change the "ridiculous" U.S. tax system "so people and companies aren't leaving the country anymore," The Philadelphia Inquirer
He’d also push a national energy policy to "take advantage" of American resources, according to the Inquirer, telling the crowd that the U.S. needs to "get down to the granular level on national energy policy."
The Journal points out that some of Christie’s positions could cause him problems in New Hampshire, such as his support for the Common Core national education standards (though he’s against federal education funds being tied to the standards) and his advocacy for the 2013 Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to collect sales and use taxes from online retailers even if they don’t have a physical presence in the state.
New Hampshire does not have a sales or personal income tax.
At 13 percent, an NBC News-Marist survey
shows Christie trailing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (18 percent); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (15 percent); and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (14 percent) in New Hampshire.
In reliably conservative Iowa, another early primary state, Christie is behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (17 percent); Bush (16 percent); and Walker (15 percent).
Undecided voters in Iowa scored 14 percent, compared with Christie’s 9 percent.
He also trails potential GOP candidates in South Carolina, the third early primary. Christie received 6 percent of support there, behind South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (17 percent), Bush (15 percent), Walker (12 percent), and Huckabee and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (both with 10 percent).
Christie should concentrate on New Hampshire, where independents can vote in primaries, since Iowans and South Carolinians will see him as "too centrist," Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told the Journal.
Even Christie, known for his no-nonsense style, told voters there that he is an acquired taste.
"The more I come back, the less speech you’re going to get and the more time you’re going to get to ask me questions and challenge me, because that’s where I’m at my most comfortable," he said.
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