COEUR d'ALENE - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was courted as a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, will be here in December for a public rally to raise funds for Gov. Butch Otter.
"We are real excited that Gov. Christie is coming to support Gov. Otter," said Jayson Ronk, Otter's campaign manager.
Christie won his bid for governor of New Jersey on Tuesday with a record-setting 60 percent of the vote against his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono.
In doing so, Christie won over his own party base, overcame a backlash from the tea party, won a majority of the women's vote, and did very well among minorities. He also took more than 30 percent of the Democratic voters of New Jersey.
Ronk said the Otter campaign would like to take credit for securing one of the most popular Republican figures in the nation this week, but he said the reality is that the campaign has been working on the Coeur d'Alene event for a number of months.
"We were really excited for Gov. Christie's historic win," he said, adding they received confirmation on Friday that he would be able to attend.
Members of the committee working to secure the governor said that Coeur d'Alene was selected because of the turnout they experienced during a similar rally Republicans held with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Nov. 2, 2008.
The Christie rally will be held at The Coeur d'Alene Resort on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $50 per person. There will be a separate VIP reception with both governors at 6 p.m. at cost of $1,000 per couple.
Tickets will be available online at www.otter4idaho.com as soon as they can update the campaign website, Ronk said.
Christie has taken on the extremists on both sides of the aisle, and went head-to-head with many of the tea party's presidential hopefuls, who are expected to run in the 2016 Republican primaries. Christie is also expected to make a primary run.
After his win on Tuesday, Christie had a message for Washington, D.C.
"I know that if we can do this in Trenton, N.J., maybe the folks in Washington, D.C., should tune in their TVs right now, see how it's done," the governor said in his victory speech.
"I know that tonight a dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say, 'is what I think's happening really happening? Are people really coming together? Are we really working, African Americans and Hispanics, suburbanites and city-dwellers, farmers and teachers, are we really all working together?'" Christie said. "Let me give the answer to everyone who is watching tonight - under this government, our first job is to get the job done. And as long as I am governor, that job will always, always be finished."
Christie has been criticized for praising President Barrack Obama, and even hugging him thankfully, for helping his state in the dark days after Hurricane Sandy. He has taken stands against the Republican Party platform on gun control and Obamacare. Among the tea party contingent of the GOP, he is considered a heretic and many of them downplayed his 60 percent win Tuesday night.
"I like and respect Chris Christie. I congratulate him on his big win last night. I think it is terrific that he is brash, that he is outspoken and that he won his race," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the Politico newspaper this week. "We need more leaders in Washington with the courage to stand for principle. And in particular, Obamacare is not working."
Cruz, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, have publicly criticized Christie's position on a number of issues recently, but the governor has stood his ground.
Organizers of the rally said that Otter met Christie at the national governor's conference and that is what started the process of bringing the Garden State governor to Idaho.