Post-CPAC, How Much Longer Can @GovChristie Hold Out?

Governor Christie placed third in this past week’s annual CPAC presidential straw poll, Save Jerseyans.

He finished behind second place finisher and presumed GOP “front-runner” Mitt Romney and, believe it or not, the straw poll’s first place finisher: Ron Paul of Texas. Christie also beat out known entities who have been actively running for years: Gingrich, Palin, Pawlenty, and (as rumor would have it) Christie’s preferred candidate – Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana.

The Conservative Political Action Conference isn’t necessarily a representative sample of the GOP primary electorate. It is, however, a pretty good sampling of the phone bank heroes, conservative social activists, hard right organizations, and other Republican-affiliated actors that can make or break a primary campaign. The fact that Romney was bested by Ron Paul serves to drive home the point that the 2012 GOP contest has no front-runner. The Republican base, usually anxious to rally behind a tested veteran with seniority, remains uncommitted to a standard-bearer in the battle to unseat Barack Obama.

Chris Christie has consistently refused to be considered for the job. Yet each time he refuses a reporter’s lead or a support’s urging on the topic, his public profile in Republican circles around the country continues to grow. This isn’t a fluke or a passing fad, folks. Chris Christie is striking a chord. The draft Christie movement is already underway.

If this race remains unsettled into the fall, how much longer can New Jersey’s governor resist the growing chorus of calls from all sectors of the GOP ideological spectrum to step into the breach?

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