He has hired specialists in microtargeting who worked for the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. He has built a sprawling, 50-state fund-raising network, including major Republican players like Harold Simmons, the billionaire backer of a Karl Rove-led “super PAC” that spent $105 million in the 2012 race.
And he is pouring resources into an effort to attract blacks, Hispanics and women to prove that he is a new kind of Republican.
As Gov. Chris Christie heads for what is expected to be an easy re-election, he is also quietly building a sophisticated political operation that could become the basis for a national campaign. His advisers, while saying the governor is focused on New Jersey, are aiming to run up a huge margin against his Democratic opponent and position Mr. Christie as a formidable figure among Republicans ahead of the next presidential primary…
Senior Republicans who are familiar with Mr. Christie’s strategy say it is most closely modeled after Mr. Bush’s bid in 1998 for re-election as governor of Texas. The parallels are clear. Mr. Bush was considered a shoo-in for re-election to the governor’s office, but he and Mr. Rove became determined to win over Hispanic and black voters to demonstrate the governor’s broad appeal to a national audience. Mr. Bush won that race, with 68 percent of the vote, which included more than a third of the Hispanic vote, offering him a powerful credential when he ran for president two years later as “a different kind of Republican.”