Christie announces steering committee

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Dec. 1—CONCORD — Republican presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a steering committee that included some prominent past and present legislative leaders.

"New Hampshire has an obligation as the First In The Nation primary (state) to get this right and with this group, I am confident we will," Christie said in a statement.

Christie put out this announcement less than two weeks after two main GOP rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, had released their slates of New Hampshire delegates.

What's notable about endorsements is that with less than two months to go, many big names in New Hampshire politics have yet to choose sides.

Gov. Chris Sununu is expected soon to make his choice between Haley, DeSantis and Christie while 11 of 14 GOP state Senators and House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, have not embraced any candidate either.

In 2016, Packard was with Christie.

In recent weeks, Christie has risen in the polls here, finishing third in the latest one by CNN and the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, ahead of DeSantis and behind former President Donald Trump and Haley.

State Rep. Wayne McDonald, R-Londonderry, has agreed to chair the group as someone who volunteered for Christie during his first White House run in 2016.

In that race, Christie finished in sixth place and the day after the election he endorsed Trump.

MacDonald chairs the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee and is a past chairman of the Republican State Committee.

"There is no one who is better informed on the issues that matter to the American people, no one with better judgment, and no one with the qualifications and extensive experience that match Chris Christie's," MacDonald said.

Former State Senate Presidents Peter Bragdon of Milford and Tom Eaton of Keene are also on board.

"He is focused on the issues that need the most attention in the next decade and beyond if we are to remain a prosperous and powerful nation," said Bragdon who is now a full-time lobbyist with the Preti Flaherty law firm.

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., is also on the committee after announcing his backing for Christie two weeks ago.

Other members of the steering committee include former New Hampshire Housing Authority Director Clara Monier, Hillsborough County Commissioners Toni Pappas of Manchester and Robert Rowe of Amherst, Bedford business developer Bill Greiner, ex-GOP State Vice Chair J.P. Marzullo of Deering former VFW of New Hampshire State Commander Mark McCabe and Lori Davis, a delegate and volunteer coordinator for former President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016.

Christie is scheduled to return to the campaign trail in the state next Thursday, hosting town hall forums at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, Keene State College and New England College in Henniker.

klandrigan@unionleader.com