(NEW YORK) — With the Iowa State Fair now underway, much of the nation’s attention will soon turn to Des Moines as Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls descend on the Midwestern city to show face and make their cases to future caucus-goers.
But while other candidates pose with butter sculpted into the shape of a cow and munch assorted fried foods, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now a GOP candidate for president, is continuing to hone his campaign’s focus on New Hampshire, evidenced in part by a new $400,000 media buy from the pro-Christie Tell It Like It Is PAC in the Granite State. The purchase marks the largest to date by the PAC.
“The first primary goal for our efforts was to do everything we could to make sure he [Christie] got on the debate stage, and that was accomplished,” a senior adviser from the PAC told ABC News. “And now it’s about supporting the broader mission in the state of New Hampshire, and he’s made no secret of the importance he’s placed on that state. It’s a state he knows well. It’s a state that he spent a lot of time in the last campaign on. And it’s a state that is going to be a big focus in this race.”
The 30-second ad spot, shared exclusively with ABC News, seeks to emphasize Christie’s legacy as a “successful blue-state governor” — a message the former governor has placed at the center of his pitch to voters as he attempts to bill himself as a uniting figure in an increasingly polarized nation.
“Tired of the drama, the distractions, the lies? It’s time for conservatives to win again,” the ad states. “Christie took on the teachers’ union and won, turned around Jersey’s most violent city, and got Democrats to cut taxes. A real conservative, Christie tells the truth, and he’ll beat Joe Biden — easily.”
Christie’s PAC said undeclared voters will be key in the New Hampshire primary since the Granite State allows undeclared voters to cast their votes in primary contests.
“Don’t forget there’s a lot of independents. Independents can vote in the Republican primary as well. Don’t forget that’s a factor. And Governor Christie has got a very clear message as to why he’s running and what he’s attempting to do,” the senior adviser said. “We feel good that that’ll resonate, and we will do everything we can to drive that home from the outside.”
Set to hit the New Hampshire broadcast and cable airwaves on Friday, the release of the television spot followed a town hall hosted by the PAC in Salem, New Hampshire, on Wednesday. It capped off several days of campaigning in the state by Christie, which included another town hall at Colby-Swayer College the night before and stops at two mental health and addiction treatment facilities.
Speaking to a crowd of a few hundred people Wednesday outside of an Elk Lodge on a muggy summer evening, Christie emphasized his desire to bring the country together to do “big things” and derided former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for “distracting” voters from issues that matter.
“They want to keep you in the little fights because the more they divide us, the easier we are to dominate. When we unite behind great causes, this country is undefeated,” Christie said.
“I’m tired of arguments and anger that lead to nothing but more arguments and anger. I want those arguments to lead to accomplishments for the American people. That’s what I did as the Governor of New Jersey, and that is what I will do as President of the United States if you give me the chance,” he told the crowd.
Christie blasted Trump several times throughout the evening, at one point calling him a “rotted building with the nice facade” and predicting New Hampshire voters would cause his demise despite the former president’s strong poll numbers in the state.
“When that facade gets broken through by the people of New Hampshire, the building will collapse. You will end his career in New Hampshire in January of 2024,” Christie said.
“I made some progress in two months,” Christie told the crowd on Wednesday night. “But it’s not enough. When your friends ask you, ‘Well, why the hell should I support Christie? He can’t win,’ you tell them, ‘He won’t be ahead in one poll until election night in New Hampshire, not one.'”
Two attendees at Wednesday night’s town hall, Michele and Bill Edwards, who said that they typically leaned towards Democrats in the past, told ABC News that Christie’s message resonated with them.
“He seems to be very close to the middle, which is a huge thing for us. That’s what we want,” Michele Edwards said following the town hall. “We want somebody in the middle. No arguments, no fighting, no cruelty. Just do what’s best for the country.”
“We just changed our designation to independent so that we can choose the right candidate who we think is best for the country. And it is clear that Chris Christie has something going for him,” Bill Edwards said.
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