New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will headline a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) during his visit to the Hawkeye State in two weeks, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Fix.
Christie was already headed to Iowa to take part in an education summit at the invitation of Gov. Terry Branstad (R). The invitation says he will also be the featured guest at a King fundraiser in West Des Moines on July 25.
Adding the political date to his itinerary may stoke speculation about his national political ambitions, but Christie has attempted to shut down any suggestion that he would run for president next year.
At the same time, it will be a good connection to make if Christie ever does want to run for president — a possibility he hasn’t foreclosed — as King is a conservative power broker in the state.
King also happens to face a real race in 2012, with former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D) running against him in a district that is significantly different than his current one, thanks to the state losing a seat to redistricting.
It’s not the first time Christie has dipped his toe into the all-important presidential state. He campaigned for Branstad last year, and in late May he met in New Jersey with a group of influential Iowa GOP donors who were urging him to run for president.
Though Christie has made it pretty clear he’s not running for president in 2012, some lingering disenchantment with the Republican presidential field means his name is very much on the tongues of observers.
A poll released this week by Voter/Consumer Research shows Christie would start in third place in Iowa, with 13 percent of the vote. Only Mitt Romney (18 percent) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (15 percent) were ahead of him.