New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been elected vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, the latest in a long line of indications that he won’t run for president in 2012.
The RGA announced the Christie move this morning. The organization also named Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to an open slot on the the RGA’s executive committee.
“No governors better exemplify the type of leadership our country needs right now than Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker,” RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell said in a statement.
McDonnell, the Virginia governor, ascended to chairmanship of the RGA last month when then-chairman Rick Perry opted to run for president.
Christie has repeatedly said he won’t run for president, but some refuse to believe him.
Most recently, former George W. Bush adviser and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson said Christie has taken meetings in Chicago and said he thought Christie was “actively considering” the presidential race.
Prior to that, another news outlet reported that Christie had been conducting focus groups, but it soon backed off that report.
Republican strategists acknowledge that Christie would be perhaps the only late entrant who could fundamentally re-order the race but few — if any — hold out hope that he will make the race.
The rise of Rick Perry also means that there is less space for Christie to occupy in the field since the Texas governor is laying claim to the straight-talking, populist mantle that the New Jersey chief executive has patented over the past two years.