Although he decisively announced last week he wouldn’t be running for the Republican nomination for the 2012 election, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still making news.
Christie endorsed Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Tuesday morning, just before the economy-based Republican debate, hosted at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
So with the First In The Nation primary rapidly approaching, this large endorsement will prove to have an impact on Romney’s candidacy.
Romney’s been called the front-runner by many since the beginning of the 2012 election cycle, however polls have shown various other candidates grow in popularity and diminish, nearing Romney’s numbers. The one thing Romney’s had to his advantage is fairly steady polling numbers, despite the fact that they haven’t always been miles ahead of the rest of the Republican contenders.
With the seal of approval from Christie, Romney’s bound to gain more support from the many who have been attempting to draft Christie for months.
But will it be enough?
Ultimately, endorsements ensure that at least some portion of an influential politician’s fan base will follow suit and support he who has been endorsed. But as in all other cases, some Christie followers supported Christie because he’s just that: not Romney (much like in the Governor Tim Pawlenty endorsement of Romney, where many Pawlenty fans were anti-Romney and disapproved of his endorsement).
Whether or not a large portion of Christie supporters refrains from jumping on the Romney-wagon has yet to play out, though it’ll become quite obvious in the coming weeks’ polls.
But with the FITN primary nearing very quickly and voters still undecided, it’s going to take more than just an endorsement for Romney to pull through as the real front runner, and eventually nominee, for the Republican Party.
In a race with fewer splitting the vote, this type of endorsement would likely become the deciding factor. But the split across several candidates and the lack of any one or two to take a significant lead is going to require that candidates continue to put in the long hours across the smallest of towns to shake each and every hand of possible supporters.
KSC’s already had the opportunity to meet Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, Governor Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, and Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah. While the first two are little known and remain low in the polls, Huntsman’s beginning to show up on the radar. Visits to places like Keene and the other small towns of Cheshire County will continue to grow his support in more valuable ways than the endorsement of a candidate like Christie.
In order for Romney to keep any lead he’ll gain from this endorsement, he’s going to have to follow through on those tough hours, otherwise candidates like Huntsman and Herman Cain, who started out with very little name recognition, will hand-shake their way past Romney in the polls.
The deciding factor in this primary won’t be just one endorsement, fantastic ad, or surpassed fundraising goal. Candidates are going to have to listen to voters, interact, and take note. They’re particularly going to have to listen to voters our age, the future of America.
All eyes are on us as politicians point to the fact that we will be inheriting this mess we call government. Because of that, we need to demand that a single “Yes, he’ll do,” won’t determine a race, but rather candidates win our hearts and our votes by pleasing us and being the candidate we’re actually seeking to elect.
Allie Bedell can be contacted at email@example.com