CLAYTON, Missouri — A spokesman for New Jersey Republicans shot down speculation that Chris Christie might reconsider and jump in the presidential race.
“Governor Christie is flattered that his accomplishments in New Jersey have received so much support from voters across the country but nothing has changed with regards to the Governor’s decision not to run for President in 2012,” according to a statement from Rick Gorka, New Jersey’s GOP spokesman.
Back in April, Christie told ABC’s Diane Sawyer he did “not feel ready in his heart to be president.”
But while the New Jersey Republican party sought to tamp down on the speculation, one top New Jersey Republican, former Governor Tom Kean, fueled it on Monday.
“It’s real,” Kean said, according to National Journal. “He’s giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago.”
The speculation, despite Christie’s repeated promises that he would not run, brought new attention to a week-long cross-country GOP fundraising swing kicked off today with a private event at a Ritz-Carlton here just outside of St. Louis.
Hotel security kicked ABC News out of the venue before the event had started, noting that it was closed to press. The event was held in a second-floor room known as “The Boardroom,” with a long wooden table that appeared to seat approximately 15 people.
Outside the hotel a small group of about 20 union protesters gathered momentarily before Christie’s arrival, chanting “Just say no to Christie’s lies, defend our right to organize.” But they quickly dispersed after only a matter of minutes.
With multiple entrances to the hotel, Christie was not seen making his way into the Ritz today. The hotel’s management enlisted the help of the Clayton Police Department to make sure that no members of the media — all two of us here — so much as step on the sidewalk in front of the Ritz.
As ABC’s Michael Falcone has reported, sources close to Christie have said that “the pressure from donors and other people has intensified” and the “volume of calls” urging Christie to run have increased, but that “nothing has changed” since he insisted he would not in April 2011.
After three events in the St. Louis area today and tomorrow — all closed to reporters — Christie will head to California before wrapping up his whirlwind tour later this week in Louisiana.