Christie's Campaign Suddenly in the Spotlight, But He's Been Wooing N.H. All Along

Dec 2, 2015

The fact that Chris Christie’s has spent lots of time in New Hampshire was clear the moment he stepped in the door at Janie’s café.

"Sir, good to see you again!"

Christie was greeting Bob Fesh. The longtime GOP lawmaker is the kind of guy Christie is counting on to boost his campaign, and the kind for guy Christie been courting, methodically, for months.

“A nice guy. I just like him period.”

And Fesh’s verdict – which would have been rare as recently as a few months ago -- is a common one these days. Voters like Londonderry local Paul Modello say the more they've seen of Christie, the better they like him.

"His ability to articulate on a multitude of subjects is supreme, and he doesn’t repeat himself. He flows in his conversation and he flows in his presentations."

And Christie’s flow in wooing local Republicans has been steady and uninterrupted. Regardless of where he’s been in the polls, Christie’s worked hard to build personal connections to Republicans here with meetings, calls, personal text messages, and the occasional hug.

NHPR's Josh Rogers (left) records Christie talking with voters at a Londonderry restaurant. Christie is often accompanied on the trail by his wife, Mary Pat.
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"Oh man, that felt good, that felt good."

That was the Christie after a nuzzle with Mary Griffin, a state rep from Windham and a fixture at GOP events for decades.

"Nice to see you dear, I wish you well," said Griffin.  "When are you going to come to in Windham?"

"I just was there. I did a town hall meeting there last week."

Christie has spent more time in New Hampshire than any of the leading GOP contenders, and has held 36 town hall meetings and counting. 

"You know how many times you’ve had an opportunity to take a picture of me?"

"You’re gonna have a lot more in the next 70 days."

NHPR: "So, Governor, how many people here do you think you’ve sent text messages to?"

"In this room? I’m not exactly sure but there’s definitely a few here who I’ve sent text messages to, but not a majority in this room, at least."

Christie's campaign has been riding high since a high-profile endorsement from the NH Union Leader, but he's also made more appearances in N.H. than any other GOP candidate.
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

And this room, on this day, at least, was full of the positive energy of any campaign would want. Whether all the backslapping and good cheer persist will be up to voters and to Christie.

Polling indicates the New Jersey governor’s still got a lot of work to do. But as he made his way out of the restaurant, Christie was bullish on his chances, remarking “I always make new friends.”

He’s got nine more weeks to do so in New Hampshire.