Marco Rubio has his eyes on Chris Christie, who is increasingly viewed as the dark horse who could, with an impressive showing — even a victory — in New Hampshire, become the GOP’s surprise establishment favorite.
Starting tomorrow, the super PAC supporting Rubio’s presidential bid is set to go up on the air and online with two attack ads against the New Jersey governor in New Hampshire, where Christie has focused all of his efforts. A source with the Rubio PAC says the ads are “a major part of an ongoing multi-million dollar buy in New Hampshire over the next couple of weeks.”
The ads come as Christie has increasingly been on the attack against Rubio. Last week, he called on Rubio to resign over his missed Senate votes. The first spot is aimed at conservative voters: It slams Christie’s support for Common Core and his decision to expand Medicaid in New Jersey. “One high tax, Common Core, liberal energy loving, Obamacare Medicaid expanding president is enough,” a narrator says as the infamous image of Christie and Obama embracing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (and the closing days of the 2012 presidential election) flashes on screen.
The second is intended to sway the moderate and independent voters who have traditionally outnumbered registered Republicans in New Hampshire’s open primary. It highlights New Jersey’s high tax burden, low rate of job growth, and the indictment of his former aides in the Bridgegate scandal.
The Rubio PAC’s leaders, Warren Tompkins and Jon Lerner, said in a note to Rubio donors at the end of October that they viewed Rubio, Cruz, businessman Donald Trump, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as the only candidates with a chance of becoming the Republican nominee. Since then, Carson has tanked in the polls. But why are Rubio supporters hitting a candidate they don’t believe has a chance of becoming the party’s nominee? Though he may not become the nominee, he “has the ability to alter or to affect which of the other three is the nominee,” says Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for the Rubio PAC.