They didn't get a promise that he'll run, but a group of Iowa donors did get New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to say he'll visit the Hawkeye State this summer.
Word of Christie's planned appearance, to serve as the keynote speaker of an education-related event in July at the request of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, emerged Tuesday night. Christie had earlier held a dinner at the New Jersey governor's official residence, Drumthwacket, with the deep-pocketed GOPers hoping to lure him into the presidential race.
The planned appearance was first reported by the Des Moines Register and confirmed by POLITICO.
What the group of donors heard, however, was the same as what Christie has said in the open — that he is not running against Barack Obama next year.
“It was exactly what we intended it to be, short of him saying he’d run,” Iowa businessman Bruce Rastetter, a leader of the donor group, told the Register as the meeting was ending.
“What we heard from him very clearly was the same response he has given publicly: That he made a commitment to New Jersey and continuing to work to their solve their problems,” said Rastetter. “He understands the country’s problems, but feels very strongly that he has that commitment to New Jersey to continue to serve.”
The group of donors made the East Coast jaunt in the hopes of drafting the New Jersey governor into a GOP field that Rastetter and other Republican leaders have panned as lacking.
Earlier in the day, Christie traveled to his son's baseball game using the official state helicopter.
"It is a means of transportation that is occasionally used as the schedule demands," Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said, according to the Associated Press. "This has historically been the case in prior administrations as well, and we continue to be judicious in limiting its use."