Iowans who tried to draft Christie in '12 no longer as eager

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
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Iowans who tried to draft Christie in '12 no longer as eager
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, speaks during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. The talent show that is a presidential campaign began in earnest Saturday as more than 1,200 Republican activists, who probably will vote in Iowa's caucuses, packed into a historic Des Moines theater to see and hear from a parade of their party's prospective entries. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MENDHAM TWP., NJ - NOVEMBER 04: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emerges from a voting machine after casting his vote, November 4, 2014 at the Emergency Services Building in Mendham, Twp., New Jersey. All 12 of N.J.'s House seats are up for grabs today. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poses for a picture with students of Saint Rose Hight School during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, speaks during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. The talent show that is a presidential campaign began in earnest Saturday as more than 1,200 Republican activists, who probably will vote in Iowa's caucuses, packed into a historic Des Moines theater to see and hear from a parade of their party's prospective entries. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members before the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members after the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members after the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) after speaking to US troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with students of Saint Rose Hight School during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with workers of Pasoh Salon during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has formed a new political action committee to enable him to raise money for a potential 2016 presidential bid. WSJ's Heather Haddon has more.
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat attend an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: A man shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while speaks to the audience during a public event in Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: A man is removed by security guards while he shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during a public event in Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a visit to Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with a baby while they visit Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Richard Weited watch as Weited's granddaughter (not pictured) walks up as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with Richard Weited and his wife Valerie, the owners of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poses for a picture with Richard Weited (R), owner of East Dover marina and Mike Greiseh (L), two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shake hands with Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) poses for photographs with customers during a campaign stop with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) campaigns with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan pose for a 'selfie' with a supporter during a campaign event at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) poses for photographs during a campaign stop with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (2nd L) hears from a supporter during a campaign stop with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie say their goodbyes after a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2nd L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (2nd R) greet customers during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) pose for photographs with a Honey Bee Diner employee during a campaign stop October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) pose for photographs with customers during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens closely to a supporter while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2nd L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (3rd L) talk with customers at the Honey Bee Diner during a campaign stop October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens closely to a supporter while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) campaigns with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) outside the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs the cover of a copy of Time magazine while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan arrive for a campaign event at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) pose for a 'selfie' with a supporter during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) stands in front of a huge cup cake display at his Birthday Bash, Saturday October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends a Birthday Bash for Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends a Birthday Bash for Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L-R) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie join U.S. President Donald Trump for an opioid and drug abuse listening session at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stands with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie before their meeting at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) and Kellyanne Conway (C), campaign manager and senior advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team, leave Trump Tower in New York, U.S., December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie stands next to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) as U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) signs H.J.Res. 41, providing for congressional disapproval of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to "Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers." at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Four years ago, seven big-money donors and leading Republican activists from Iowa loaded into a private plane and headed to New Jersey for an urgent meeting with Chris Christie. Their message: Run, Chris, run.

The group from the lead-off caucus state failed in that mission to persuade the brash New Jersey governor to jump into the 2012 race for president. This time around, Christie's White House ambitions no longer appear to be an issue. But those once-eager Iowans aren't as keen to throw their support his way.

"It's a brand new ballgame," says donor Gary Kirke. "There's a lot more people in the race, and a lot has happened since then."

Of the seven who made the May 2011 trip to meet with Christie at the sprawling Drumthwacket governor's mansion, Kirke is the most outspoken. Three others are undecided about who they'll support in 2016, one doesn't plan to back any candidate, and two remain loyal Christie supporters.

The change in passions is a reflection of how the still-early race for the Republican nomination is dramatically different from four years ago, when eventual GOP pick Mitt Romney emerged from a large but relatively little-known field of candidates.

This time, Christie is competing for support against a list of potential candidates who include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and several members of the U.S. Senate, Florida's Marco Rubio and Kentucky's Rand Paul among them. The sense among some in Iowa is that Christie may have lost a unique opportunity in 2012, when the fight for dollars from establishment donors was far less intense.

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"I think last time a lot of people looked at the field and saw holes in it," said Craig Robinson, the former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. "I think the other governors in the race really give him a hard go."

Kirke said that four years ago, Christie looked to be a rising star, with bravado and personality backed by solid conservative credentials. Since then, Kirke's opinion has changed. He pointed to Christie's embrace of President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and to the George Washington Bridge scandal, which continues to hang over Christie.

"People just question, you know, he's the CEO of the state," said Kirke. "It makes you wonder about his leadership."

Kirke has yet to make his 2016 pick, but said he's excited about a number of potential candidates, including Walker and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. He even praised Donald Trump for his outsider appeal.

Christie political aide Mike DuHaime, also a senior adviser to the governor's recently launched political action committee, wouldn't discuss how much the PAC had raised so far or name specific donors, except to say that a number of those who tried to draft Christie into the 2012 race are involved today.

"I'm very confident that Christie will have all the resources he needs should he decide to move forward," DuHaime said.

Among the seven Iowans, both Bruce Rastetter, a major GOP donor who made his fortune in the pork and ethanol industries, and Michael Richards, the former chief medical officer of Iowa Health System, are now undecided about who they plan to back in 2016.

Rastetter has invited more than two dozen potential contenders to an agricultural summit in Des Moines in March, and he said he was excited to welcome Christie - as well as the other potential candidates - but in no rush to take sides.

"I don't have any plans in the near future to endorse anyone," he said.

Cameron Sutton, a retired insurance executive, said that he is undecided, and that in his new role as Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst's state director, he's not in a position to endorse anyone. He told The Des Moines Register last year that he was "disappointed" in Christie, but he was more diplomatic this week, saying the race in 2016 is a "a whole different ballfield" compared to 2012.

"You don't need to beg somebody to run this time around because I think we have some outstanding candidates to choose from," he said, adding that he didn't see that as a knock against Christie. "I see that just as a strong statement that there's really, really strong candidates on the docket."

An assistant to Denny Elwell, a real estate developer who was on the trip to New Jersey to draft Christie, said Elwell has not made any decisions about 2016 and was not commenting on the race. But two others on the flight are still Christie supporters.

"I'm still formally in the Christie camp. I don't think I've ever left the Christie camp," said Mikel Derby, who works for the state's transportation department, and hailed the New Jersey Republican as a "tremendous leader" who has plenty of support in the state.

And former Iowa state Sen. Jim Kersten said he's already volunteering for Christie and pointed to the team the governor is building in Iowa, led by well-respected operatives Phil Valenziano and Jeffrey Boeyink.

"We're hoping that he will move forward. And if he gets in, we will support him," Kersten said.

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Follow Jill Colvin on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/colvinj

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