New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is embarking on a national campaign swing for fellow Republicans in 2010 that includes a trip to the state that launches the presidential nominating season.
Christie, the first-term Republican governor who has grabbed the attention of national conservatives through his budget-cutting measures and battles with organized labor, is heading to Iowa to campaign for former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) next month. Christie will headline a fundraiser for Branstad's gubernatorial campaign in Des Moines on Oct. 4.
The Iowa trip is part of a campaign swing that will take Christie through at least seven states, beginning in California at the end of this month, where he'll headline a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (R). Christie is also expected to visit Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Christie adviser Mike DuHaime told The Hill the governor has had "many direct requests" from candidates to campaign on their behalf in 2010 and said Christie's early record of fiscal discipline in New Jersey makes him a top draw for Republican candidates, given the current political environment.
"He's proven that if you focus on bread-and-butter economic issues, you can win no matter how blue the state," DuHaime said. "He's also proven that you can govern effectively even with a Democratic legislature."
Christie's focus will largely be on gubernatorial candidates, but his schedule includes stops for Republican congressional candidates in Pennsylvania and his home state.
The governor is also likely to add Connecticut and Maryland to his campaign schedule to stump on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidates there.
The trip is sure to spark more speculation that Christie is eyeing a potential presidential run in 2012, something he has emphatically denied. Back in June, Christie said in an interview on Fox Business Channel that "under no circumstances" would he run in 2012.