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Christie’s Minnesota visit is about Christie

Christie’s visit to Minnesota next month has likely more to do with Christie’s potential presidential ambitions in 2016 than with Jeff Johnson’s gubernatorial ambitions in 2014.

Gov. Chris Christie

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), the head of the Republican Governor’s Association, will make a stop in Minnesota next month for Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson. Christie appeared at an event in Hudson, Wisconsin Monday for Governor Scott Walker, but Johnson was not at the event.

Since Christie’s event was first reported, many wondered if he would add an event in Minnesota for Johnson to his schedule. It would be particularly embarrassing for Johnson’s campaign to have Christie’s plane land in Minnesota, only to have him travel to another state to campaign. But Johnson’s campaign was able to confirm Christie would return to Minnesota for an event next month.

Republicans I spoke with today said Christie’s visit to Minnesota next month has likely more to do with Christie’s potential presidential ambitions in 2016 than with Johnson’s gubernatorial ambitions in 2014.

Christie’s event with Johnson is scheduled for October 13 and by this date in 2010, the RGA had already made over $1.1 million in contributions to help elect Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor. In total, the RGA made contributions over $2.2 million in 2010 to groups in Minnesota to aid Emmer’s candidacy. The RGA has not yet dedicated any resources to assist Johnson in his campaign against Governor Mark Dayton, a clear sign Johnson is not considered a threat to Dayton.

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Unlike in 2014, Minnesota was not fly-over territory in 2010, as numerous top Republican heavy hitters campaigned for Emmer. Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, and Christie all visited Minnesota to assist Emmer. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who was the head of the RGA in 2010, visited Minnesota in February ’10 and raised money for the Republican Party of Minnesota and the RGA. Christie is the only top Republican to announce plans to campaign for Johnson in 2014.

Johnson’s event with Christie is just 14 days away, which does not give Johnson’s campaign much to show the RGA that resources should be dedicated to Minnesota. Until public polling shows a closer race between Dayton and Johnson, I would expect the RGA’s involvement in Minnesota to be minimal.

This post was written by Michael Brodkorb and originally published on – an inside view of Minnesota politics. Follow on Twitter: @politicsdotmn.

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