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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a GOP dinner in Concord, New Hampshire in February

Apr 2, 2015 2:49 PM

Steinhauser: Chris Christie appears to pick up the 2016 pace

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - Chris Christie's taking another step towards launching a run for the White House.

The two-term New Jersey governor and probable Republican presidential candidate has hired his second political operative in the first-in-the-nation primary state, NH1 News confirmed Thursday.

Matt Moroney will serve as New Hampshire operations director for the Leadership Matters for America PAC, Christie's political action committee. Moroney is a veteran Granite State political operative, most recently serving as a field director on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and as statewide field director last year for GOP gubernatorial nominee Walt Havenstein. Time Magazine was first to report Moroney's hire.

Moroney joins Matt Mowers, who stepped down as executive director of the New Hampshire GOP in January to serve as Christie's top political advisor in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, NH1 News was first to report Tuesday on Twitter that Christie will make a two-day swing through New Hampshire April 14-15. That visit comes just a couple of days before Christie returns to speak at the first major cattle call in the first-in-the-nation primary state of probable GOP White House contenders.

A Christie political aide said that during his two day trip, Christie will meet with community leaders "to discuss important issues facing our country like entitlement reform."

On April 17, Christie is back in the Granite State to speak at the NHGOP's "First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit." The two-day confab, which is being held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nashua, is attracting almost every major likely GOP presidential candidate, with the exception of former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a 2012 GOP White House candidate, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Thursday Christie appeared in a NHGOP email to supporters that promoted the confab.

Christie made numerous trips to New Hampshire during last year's midterm election season, to campaign for GOP gubernatorial nominee Walt Havenstein, in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Christie also stumped for former Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican Senate nominee.

Samantha Smith, communications director for Leadership Matters for America PAC, a political action committee launched by Christie in advance of any formal presidential campaign, said in a recent statement that "over the last few years, Governor Christie has been to New Hampshire almost a dozen times to support strong Republican candidates. He is looking forward to having the opportunity to discuss the need for strong leadership at all levels of government, as well as how the party can achieve real results for hard working middle-class Americans."

New Hampshire is seen as a crucial state for Christie if he does end up running for the GOP nomination, as expected. It's Republican electorate is considered slightly more moderate than Iowa, which kicks off the caucus and primary calendar. And with the race for the Democratic nomination possibly turning into a coronation for Hillary Clinton, many of New Hampshire's sizable block of independent and unaligned voters may set their sights on the GOP primary battle.


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