BOSTON —Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) sent Republican activists and officials a message today: I know how to win elections, so nominate me if you want to win back the presidency.
Christie’s speech to the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting was closed to the press. But Republicans who attended the meeting said that Christie’s speech seemed like an audition for a 2016 run.
“I’ve demonstrated the winning formula” was the message that Christie tried to convey, said Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Texas Republican Party. “If you want to win as opposed to just being concerned about ideology all the time.”
Munisteri told Business Insider that Christie gave the crowd his perspective on how he achieved his unusual electoral success. Specifically, he mentioned his strong polling across party lines and his ability to draw votes from women and Democrats in a blue state.
Munisteri also took the speech as a clear message that Christie is already looking at a grander stage beyond his virtually assured re-election as New Jersey’s governor.
“Why else would anybody come to the RNC and outline — to the RNC — why it is they can win,” Munisteri said. “What else would be the purpose of that?”
Many attendees who watched the speech came out impressed. A.J. Spiker, the state RNC chair of Iowa, gave another potential hint that Christie might have 2016 plans in his future. Spiker told Business Insider that he expects Christie to travel to Iowa, a key early state, to campaign for Gov. Terry Branstad’s re-election efforts.
“As far as him running in Iowa, Iowa’s going to be wide open,” Spiker said. “And I expect we’ll see him a lot, possibly next year in Iowa.”
But the messaging wasn’t all positive. According to a source in the room, Christie took a not-so-veiled shot at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has used the phrase “stupid party” repeatedly following the party’s 2012 election walloping.
“I won’t go around calling our party ‘stupid,'” he said, according to the attendee.
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