Christie Hopes Popularity Of Fellow Republican Gov. Baker Will Boost His N.H. Campaign

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Gov. Christie, left, speaks as Baker laughs at a campaign event on Saturday. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Gov. Christie, left, speaks as Baker laughs at a campaign event on Saturday. (Elise Amendola/AP)

A WBUR poll conducted in the three days after the Iowa caucuses found Chris Christie is in seventh place, with six percent of likely voters in the Republican primary saying they would cast their ballots for him.

With a little help from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Christie is trying to change that.

Gov. Baker praised Christie at a campaign rally stop in Bedford, N.H. on Saturday. The event was held at a runners' training center and attended by hundreds, with Christie flanked not only by the Bay State's Republican governor, but also by Gov. Larry Hogan, of Maryland.

Gov. Hogan said the three of them are conservative governors "getting things done in deep blue states."

Hogan introduced Baker, joking that the prospective voters were not there to listen to him speak.

"I'm going to turn the mic over to the most popular governor in America, the governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker!" Hogan said enthusiastically.

A Morning Consult poll in November found Baker is the most popular governor in America.

It may explain why Christie might benefit from sharing a stage with him in next-door New Hampshire.

"I think it adds credibility," said Ann Mulvee, a Republican from Bedford.

Like many other people in Southern New Hampshire, Mulvee, pays attention to how Baker is doing in Massachusetts.

"I think he's doing a good job," Mulvee said, who is an undecided voter.

Not every New Hampshire voter is impressed by endorsements.

"Endorsements are okay, but I'm just trying to make my own mind up," said Republican Tom Barrett.

Barrett came to this Christie event all the way from Gilford, about an hour's drive away. He was still considering Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Christie.

Barrett is not the only voter still thinking of three candidates.

Christie mentioned another undecided voter he met the night before.

"Now, I've said New Hampshire has some of the best shoppers I've ever seen in my life," Christie said. "These people love to shop. And, I was doing a town hall meeting last night, and I had a guy saying: 'I'm down to three candidates.' I'm like: 'Dude, it's getting late, man. It's getting late to be down to three.'"

Christie's pitch is that it's time to choose a governor for president.

"We are not looking to elect an entertainer-in-chief," Christie said. "We are looking to elect a commander-in-chief."

The WBUR poll found Christie far behind Donald Trump, but also behind Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Baker was there to help Christie with his message that it's governors who know how to get things done by working with everyone, and that's what a president must do.

"You are going to have to have the determination, the toughness and the leadership skills to be able to move your agenda even with people who didn't necessarily agree with you all of the time.

Trump's lead in the polls in Iowa vanished when people showed up at the polls. Christie is counting on that happening again, and Baker was there to help him.

"And the funny thing about elections," Baker said, "what matters is who shows up and votes."

With two days to go the primary, Christie is making the argument that experience in the executive branch of government matters.

This segment aired on February 7, 2016.


Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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