Last week, thousands of right-leaning activists made the journey to a convention hall outside the nation’s capital for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Big name Republican speakers, including some potential White House contenders, made the event.
In his first major political address since scandal hit his administration, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the most anticipated speaker at the conference, received a standing ovation. However, the Christie who showed up at CPAC was different from the Christie who ran for re-election in the blue-leaning Garden State last year.
This year’s Christie most resembled the tea party days of 2009, when he first won the governorship, and 2010, when he toured the country like a rock star while campaigning for GOP candidates. Regardless, those who attended CPAC in National Harbor, Md., indicated that Christie wasn’t the man who should be tapped to run for the nation’s highest office.
Once an early frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination, Christie has lost popularity since allegations surfaced suggesting his top advisers orchestrated a traffic jam and withheld Sandy aid for political payback. The Republican governor took fourth place in the straw poll, with just 8 percent of the vote.Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., easily won first place, with 31 percent of the vote. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, registered 11 percent of the vote and Ben Carson, a former Johns Hopkins pediatric surgeon, took 9 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tied with 7 percent of the vote.