By Jill Colvin
NEWARK, N.J. – Republican Gov. Chris Christie will be swinging through the South as part of another jam-packed month of travel boosting fellow GOP candidates.
Christie, who has been crossing the country in his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association, is planning August visits to more than half a dozen states, including Mississippi and Alabama, his office said.
After a family vacation, Christie will head to Maine on Aug. 12 to campaign again for incumbent Gov. Paul LePage.
The next day he’ll head to Birmingham, Alabama, to boost Gov. Robert Bentley and to Biloxi for Gov. Phil Bryant and the Republican Governors Association.
Christie, who is weighing a run for president in 2016, has another two-state swing planned for Aug. 20, when he’ll head to Kansas City, Kansas, and Oklahoma City for events with the governors there. A Christie appearance with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin in December was cancelled due to an ice storm.
He’ll end the month with a return to Chicago on Aug. 25, followed by stops in Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas, on Aug. 27 for the RGA and gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson.
The visits, which will mark Christie’s first to Alabama, Kansas and Oklahoma for the RGA, will serve as an opportunity for him to prove that he can appeal to more conservative voters than those in New Jersey as he continues to try to revive his political brand following the George Washington Bridge scandal.
His trips have included many stops in early-voting and swing states, fueling speculation about his 2016 plans.
But some state lawmakers have criticized the constant travel, saying Christie should spend more time concentrating on issues at home.
Christie also raised eyebrows recently when he said he had no plans to campaign in New York on behalf of Republican contender Rob Astorino because he doesn’t “pay for landslides” or “invest in lost causes.” Astorino is polling far behind Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Christie’s summer travel has included events on behalf of a number of other candidates who are considerably ahead or behind in public polls.