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Governor Christie Shifts Focus to New Hampsire in Quest For Presidency

With Polls Showing Single-Digit Support in Iowa and Record-Low Favorability in NJ, Christie Sets Sights on New Hampshire
Chris Christie
Gov. Chris Christie Charlie Kratovil

CONCORD, NH - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie traveled to New Hampshire for a day-long tour on February 16.

The Republican Governor announced the formation of a political action committee for his 2016 presidential bid, Leadership Matters for America, on January 26.

The day-long tour to New Hampshire featured a roundtable with New Hampshire business leaders, a roundtable with New Hampshire state senators, and a visit to the Concord & Merrimack County GOP 3rd Annual Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner.

At a town meeting during Christie's trip, the Republican made reference to several of his "town hall" videos, where he would engage in verbal altercations with members of the public. 

In New Hampshire, the Governor laid claim to a list of accomplishments, including pension reform, balancing the state budget, decreasing the number of employees on the state payroll, and spending a "record amount" on education. 

All of these, according to Christie, were due to his ability to say "no" to what were, in his words, the "ravenous appetite of Democrats and liberals for more taxes and more spending and bigger government."

New Hampshire, along with Iowa, are both pivotal states in the presidential election, as they are the first to hold primaries and caucuses in the process where the two major parties select their candidates.

Governor Christie has so far contributed significant attention to Iowa, and his frequent out-of-state travel has irked New Jersey voters.

Several opponents of Christie alleged that his veto of a bill to ban pig gestation crates in the state of New Jersey was, in fact, a move to please voters in Iowa.

The pig population in Iowa is millions more than in New Jersey, and the livestock industry constitutes a much higher portion of that state's economy.

Several opponents of Christie had alleged that his veto of a popular bill to ban the use pig gestation crates in New Jersey was in fact, a move to please voters in Iowa, which depends much more heavily on the livestock industry.

The pig population in Iowa is millions more than in New Jersey, and constitutes a much higher portion of the state's economy.

While the move would end up gaining the support of the Iowa governor, a poll by Marist and NBC News showed that only 9% of the Iowa Republican electorate would choose Christie if the caucus was held today.

Meanwhile, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll showed that Christie's support in his home state dropped collapsed to just 37%, an all-time low, after falling seven points in just two months.

At  more broad level the Governor had made a number of foreign policy moves, which were largely viewed as transparent attempts to beef up his presence as a representative on the international stage.

He recently met with the U.S Ambassador to China, and before that had traveled to the United Kingdom to meet with officials there including Prime Minister David Cameron.

Christie has also traveled to Canada, Israel and Mexico in recent months.

In January, Christie vetoed a bill that would have set a minimum percentage of New Jersey imports that would have had to be manufactured in the United States.

The "made in America" legislation, while largely supported by legislators, business and government officials in New Jersey, received backlash from foreign officials and media outlets.

Christie has also been heavily criticized for lavish accomodations and significant taxpayer expenses related to his frequent out-of-state travel. 

In January, an investigation by New Jersey Watchdog revealed that the Governor incurred over $1 million in travel expenses since 2009.  The expenses were billed to Christie's security detail, known as the NJ State Troopers' Executive Protection Unit (EPU). 

For the first three quarters of 2014, the Governors' travel expenses on the EPU cost an average of $32,933 a month.

Some of the other expenses included: $192,272 for Blackberry smartphone services, $13,650 for the transportation costs of the September 2014 trip to Mexico, and $9,335 for the Governors' unofficial trip to Israel in 2012. 

The release of those figures came on the heels of Christie's confirmation that Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, paid for the hotel accomodations, travel via private jet, and VIP seats to a Dallas Cowboys game. 

Because Jones is involved in a company that recently received a contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the expenses have led to accusations of unethical behavior on Christie's part.