BEDFORD — N.J. Gov. Chris Christie insisted that his Friday visit to the Granite State was not in preparation for a 2016 presidential run.
Instead, Christie said he was here to support Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein as the two of them greeted patrons Friday evening at T-Bones restaurant.
“Everybody that is looking forward to 2016 now is being foolish,” said Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Christie said that every time he visits New Hampshire, he is questioned about a possible presidential run.
“No, I am here to make sure that Walt has the best campaign and the best support that he can possibly have. Listen, whoever runs in 2016, New Hampshire would be a lot better if Walt is the governor.”
Christie said that as chairman of the RGA, it is not typical to get involved in primary elections, but he chose to make an exception because of his strong belief in Havenstein.
“If we as a party don’t lay the groundwork by electing governors and taking the United States Senate in 2014, we won’t have the strongest foundation to run off no matter who the candidate is in 2016,” said Christie.
Christie refused to discuss the continuing Bridgegate investigation in New Jersey or staff members who may have been involved.
“Listen, I don’t respond to every crazy rumor out there. I’ve got a job to do,” he said.
Christie did, however, comment on a Wisconsin investigation involving Republican Gov. Scott Walker concerning an alleged criminal scheme to violate election laws.
“I have already communicated with Scott today. He is doing well. I completely support him, and I look forward to going to Wisconsin and campaigning for him at the appropriate time,” said Christie. “He is a good man and I am with him.”
Havenstein said Friday that he was pleased to have Christie campaigning with him. Under Gov. Maggie Hassan’s leadership, Havenstein described the state’s economic status as a “walking dead economy, zombie like, barely moving and no life.”
With a .9 percent economic growth for 2013, Havenstein said New Hampshire is falling behind other states like Vermont and Rhode Island. In addition, he said the state has become 35th in the nation for starting new businesses.
“We have got to do better,” said the gubernatorial candidate who is in the midst of his factory and entrepreneurial tour throughout the state. “I am all about putting life back into our economy here in New Hampshire.”
A small group of protesters from the Democratic Party were on hand for the event.
Trey Taraila said they wanted to let local voters know there are opposing opinions about what is best for New Hampshire.
“There is a difference of opinion, and we are here to provide a different perspective,” said Taraila, noting Christie’s record. “This is not what we are looking for here in New Hampshire.”
Prior to Christie’s visit, state Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said it is fitting that Havenstein would tout the endorsement of Christie, “as their records of failed leadership, disastrous economic strategies and lack of job creation are actually pretty similar.”
Kimberly Carroll of Bedford said she supports Havenstein, saying he is fiscally conservative and socially moderate.
“I think he is appealing to people,” said Carroll, who believes that Havenstein will win the primary election.
Wendy Keller of Hudson said she had never heard of Havenstein until Friday, but said she is a supporter of Christie and would like to see him run for the corner office.