Just over a month ago, Chris Christie told ABC’s Diane Sawyer: “I think they love me in Iowa.”
He’s about to test that theory, returning to the critical first early voting state this summer.
Christie will host two fundraisers for Gov. Terry Branstad, who is up for re-election this year. The first will be in May in New Jersey and the second will be held in Iowa this summer, an aide for the governor confirms.
The Republican Governors Association chairman has held fundraisers all over the country, but this is the first time he will return to the state that gets the first chance at picking the president. He went twice in 2011 stumping on behalf of Mitt Romney.
With Christie’s help, the RGA has broken fundraising records, raising $23.5 million in the first quarter of 2014 — more than doubling the amount they raised at the same point in 2010. It was also almost double what the Democratic Governors’ Association raised in the same period.
The news of the trip was first reported by RealClearPolitics, which also notes Christie will be holding fundraisers for Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, also an early voting state.
Christie stated his confidence about his chances in Iowa, telling ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview in March that voters — even presidential primary voters — still love his brash style.
“I think they love me in Iowa too,” Christie told Sawyer. “I’ve been there a lot. I think love me there too, especially because of the way I am.”
“Not in spite of, especially because,” he added.
The news comes as the Bridgegate investigations– which could hurt Christie’s presidential prospects — continue.
On Tuesday, a former aide to Christie as well as an official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will testify in front of a New Jersey legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures. The committee issued subpoenas to former Christie aide Christina Genovese Renna, current press secretary Michael Drewniak, Port Authority Commissioner William Schuber and executive director Patrick Foye. Renna and Schuber are expected to testify Tuesday and Drewniak and Foye are expected to testify later this month.