Dec 22, 2015 11:01 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
PORTSMOUTH – Chris Christie predicts that if he has a strong finish in New Hampshire’s February 9 primary, he’ll “be very competitive in South Carolina,” the state that votes next in the primary and caucus calendar.
And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, the New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate embraced a new round of attacks from critics back in the Garden State, saying if you don’t receive pushback as governor, “it means you’re not doing anything.”
Christie spoke with NH1 News on Tuesday morning aboard his new campaign bus, after greeting voters at Popovers in Market Square in Portsmouth, the final stop in a four-day Granite State swing.
After languishing in the single digits in New Hampshire polls for most of this year, Christie’s cracked double digits in four of the five most recent surveys (and he was at 9% in the one survey where he didn’t top 10%).
Asked what’s changed, Christie said “I think it’s just hard work. You’ve seen it. You’ve been watching me since the spring. you know this is the way you do it in New Hampshire. You know as well as anybody, you work hard, you keep coming, you keep meeting people and that’s what makes the difference if you have good ideas and you’re willing to talk to people directly and look them in the eye ask them for their vote, New Hampshire voters usually reward that and I think they’re going to on February 9th for me.”
Christie predicted at a town hall in Bedford on Saturday night that if he wins the first-in-the-nation primary state, he’ll capture the GOP nomination. Christie’s been putting most of his chips on New Hampshire, at the expense of the other early voting states and states that hold contests in early March.
Asked what other states he thinks he can win, Christie said “we’ll go right to South Carolina and we’ll be very competitive in South Carolina, coming off a really good showing in New Hampshire. And then we’ll head south where we have a lot of support. So I’m not worried about that part.”
“Listen, in June if I had told you that what you were going to be asking me in December is ‘how do you win other places after New Hampshire’, you would have told me I was crazy. So I like where we are. I like our progress and our momentum and we’re just going to keep building on it,” he added.
Christie calls Graham; not worried about splitting anti-Trump vote
Christie spoke with NH1 News one day after Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina ended his long shot bid for the GOP nomination. Christie said he’s “already spoken to” Graham in seeking his endorsement.
Christie explained why he’s made only around a half-dozen visits to the Palmetto State this year.
“Well I think that what’s happened is that not many people have spent much time at all in South Carolina in deference to Sen. Graham. It’s his state, his home state, he’s the senior senator. But now that he’s out of it, I think you’ll see us spent a little bit more time in South Carolina and you’ll see a lot of other people spend a little bit more time down there. You don’t want to be battling up against a senior senator in a state when you have other places that you need to be like New Hampshire and Iowa,” Christie explained.
The New Jersey governor’s battling Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the same center-right Republican primary voters. But Christie said he’s not worried that the four candidates will split the anti-Donald Trump vote, allowing the first-time candidate and GOP front runner to capture the nomination.
“I’m not concerned. I think I’m going to be able to persuade people that I’m the most electable, tested, ready person to be our nominee and to beat Hillary Clinton. That’s my job and I can’t worry about who else is in the race because I can’t control that,” he said.
Christie: 'I always get push back in Jersey'
Christie spoke with NH1 News after taking heat back home in recent days from critics of his plan to broaden access to concealed carry permits in the Garden State. The governor’s said he would “wholeheartedly embrace” the recommendations of the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission. One of the panel’s recommendations was to broaden access for such permits for those who could show they’ve received threats against their lives.
Asked about the criticism, Christie said “that’s OK. I always get push back in Jersey. If you’re governor of New Jersey and you don’t get push back, you know what that means Paul, it means you’re not doing anything. So this commission is a good group of folks and they’ve put forward some really thoughtful changes and we’re going to implement them.”
And he returned fire against those who claim the push for broadening concealed carry permits is just a presidential campaign stunt.
“No they’re wrong because this is really initiated by some really awful tragic events that happened in New Jersey that put the commission forward in June. It spent six months studying this issue.”
Christie's secret talent
Christie was joined over the weekend by his wife Mary Pat, all of his children, and his father.
Asked if we’ll see more of his family on the campaign trail, Christie said “you’ll see a lot of my dad up here and the kids will be based purely on their school schedule. You know all four kids were up this weekend but that’s because all of them are out of school now for the Christmas break. When they’re out of school, they all want to come up and see what’s going on up here. But their first job is to be in school so we’ll let them go to school first and we’ll let dad take care of it.”
Christie recently told People Magazine that his secret talent was singing in the car.
The governor’s eldest son Andrew told NH1 News that his father “can sing. He’s passed it on to me too.”
Andrew added that he and his father sing “solid duets in the car.”
“Solid. Very solid duets. Helps the time go by when you’re driving,” the governor chimed in.
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