Christie Pens Praise of Wisconsin’s Walker
One possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, sings the praises of potential GOP rival Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2014 released Thursday.
Walker made the list under the “Leaders” category along with other politicians including President Barack Obama, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Others on the list include conservative Republican financiers David and Charles Koch, pop singer Miley Cyrus, and tennis star Serena Williams.
Christie’s praising of Walker isn’t unprecedented. Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association and has previously spoken highly of Walker as he faces re-election this fall.
Christie’s three paragraph item on Walker cites his fight over public workers’ collective bargaining rights in 2011 and his successful defeat of a recall election in 2012 as signs of Walker’s leadership.
“Leadership takes many forms in public office,” Christie wrote. “One of the most difficult challenges is standing up for what you believe in when faced with relentless public attacks. Scott Walker faced that test and passed it with flying colors.”
Walker is pictured leaning against a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the state Capitol in the background. The piece is titled, “The heartland’s Republican hopeful.”
Walker has refused to say he would serve a full four-year term if re-elected, fueling speculation that he intends to run for president. Walker’s publication of a book last fall recounting his battle with the unions and the recall fight, his national speaking schedule and courting of big GOP donors, has also kept him in the mix among 2016 hopefuls.
This isn’t the first time Walker has been linked with the most influential list. In 2011, he wrote a piece for fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan when he made the list, a year before Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate.
Ryan, like Walker and Christie, is also considering a 2016 presidential run.
Walker’s likely Democratic challenger for re-election is Mary Burke, a former state commerce secretary and executive at Trek Bicycle Corp. Her campaign spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party also did not immediately respond.
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