If Christie Does Get In, Organizational Hurdles Abound

If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie does decide to jump in his party’s 2012 presidential race, he’ll immediately have to get to work catching up with his opponents — Mitt Romney in particular — logistically:

With the initial primary and caucus states poised to move up their contests to January, an October announcement means that Christie would immediately confront two questions of some urgency: where would he compete and how would he get on the ballot in an array of states coming in rapid succession.

Those decisions have to be made and action needs to be taken while also handling myriad other demands — all of it on the fly.

Christie has a tight-knit group of advisers, but it isn’t quite like the turnkey operation Rick Perry had in place. Because while Perry was mulling, at least for public consumption, whether to run all summer, his top aides were building an operation in the early states.

So, in the midst of launching a campaign, Christie would have to simultaneously create both a national infrastructure and state-by-state organization. The good news is that there are still Republicans left to staff such an effort — one well-connected Iowa strategist was emailing Christie associates as recently as this week offering to help.

The governor has aides with presidential experience — both his communications director Maria Comella and top political adviser Mike DuHaime were on Rudy Giuliani’s campaign — and there are consultants in the wings who are available to step in and handle media, polling and mail. DuHaime “knows everyone in his business,” said one GOP strategist, noting his time at the Republican National Committee under Ken Mehlman prior to the 2008 race.

The challenge for Christie, though, isn’t necessarily putting together a strategy team. It’s throwing together, in mid-stride, an organization that could handle all the mundane but crucial tasks of a presidential campaign.


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