ST. PETERSBURG A day before he delivers the keynote speech to the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Monday told North Carolina delegates that the outcome of the presidential race is “up to you.”
He also called the N.C. governor’s race “target number one” for Republicans.
Christie said North Carolina, which Democrat Barack Obama narrowly won in 2008, could hold a key to the presidential race.
“Literally the presidency could be up to you,” Christie told delegates over breakfast. “That is an incredible burden on the people of North Carolina, but it is also a great opportunity.”
In what may have been a partial preview of Tuesday’s address, Christie, the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney, offered a glimpse of what he called “the real Mitt Romney.” He described the former Massachusetts governor as genuine and caring.
“I don’t think people have gotten to see enough of that from Gov. Romney,” he said.
Christie spoke to around 150 delegates and guests in a ballroom of the Bayshore Hilton. Arriving after speaking to California delegates, he drew a distinction between the roles of the two states.
California, like his state, is reliably Democratic in presidential elections.
“You are one of the states that are going to help determine the next president of the United States,” he said. “My nickname for North Carolina over the next 70 days is ‘the state of consequence.’ … Good Americans all over the country are watching the state of consequence.”
Christie also put in a plug for North Carolina’s Republican candidate for governor, Pat McCrory. He called the race “target number one” for the GOP. Democrat Walter Dalton is opposing McCrory.
The governor, who has already campaigned with McCrory, said he’ll be back in September.
“Between now and November, you’d going to think I’m running for governor of North Carolina,” he said.