Chris Christie Huddles With GOP Elite At RGA Conference

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is no longer the Republican Governors Association chairman, but he remained the center of attention here as the GOP gathered to name new gubernatorial leadership and size up potential presidential candidates.

A half a dozen possible 2016 contenders came to Florida this week for the annual RGA conference, serving as an early test for the crowded field of state executives with national ambitions. 

Mr. Christie is among them but he was less publicly visible than many of two dozen Republican governors who came here to mingle with more than 500 donors, corporate executives and lobbyists. He spent much of his time meeting with donors and governors behind closed doors. 

At this stage, GOP strategists said, Mr. Christie doesn’t need to be constantly in the limelight, having built a strong record in 2014 as RGA chairman, raising record amounts for the association and helping Republicans pick up governor seats.

In the months ahead he will have to work on honing a message to excite voters and broaden his appeal on national issues if wants to make a run, said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. 

“He’s going to have to be more conversant on a lot of national issues,” Mr. O’Connell said.

Read more from Heather Haddon at The Wall Street Journal

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