DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will attend a conservative summit in Iowa next month, a spokesman for a group sponsoring the event said.
Jeff Marschner with Citizens United said Monday that Christie will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24 in Des Moines. The conservative group is sponsoring the event along with Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
Christie is weighing a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He made several visits to the early voting state during the midterm election cycle, including a stop at a King fundraiser. The summit would put him in front of a more conservative crowd than he has seen in many of his past visits.
Mike DuHaime, Christie's top political adviser, said Christie will be appearing at the event because King invited him. He said it will be Christie's first visit to Iowa since the midterm elections.
"Gov. Christie very much values the friendships he's developed over the years with both Gov. (Terry) Branstad and Congressman King," DuHaime said in a statement.
He said there currently are no other plans for the trip. Still, it presents an opportunity for Christie to hold private meetings with potential caucus supporters or possible staffers. Christie has been aggressively touring the country and fundraising this year as chairman of the Republican Governor's Association.
Branstad has hosted Christie at several events in recent months, including his October birthday fundraiser. Branstad recently praised Christie for vetoing legislation that would have banned the use of certain pig cages in the state. New Jersey has few hogs but Iowa raises more than 20 million hogs annually.
Other confirmed guests for the summit include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Iowa Congressman-elect Rod Blum also are expected to attend.