- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

BERLIN, N.H. (AP) - In his fourth trip to New Hampshire since June, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said 25 days is enough time for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein to erase his opponent’s lead. Christie himself plans to make Havenstein’s case to New Hampshire voters at least once more - maybe twice - before Election Day.

A recent University of New Hampshire poll shows Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan with a 10-point lead over Havenstein among likely voters.

“Predictions don’t mean anything if you want it to go a different way,” Christie said.

Christie and Havenstein said they think support will flow toward Havenstein after he debates Hassan several times.

“People in New Hampshire want to see a direct comparison, that’s when you’ll see things really move here,” Christie said.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie’s traveled across the country to campaign with Republican governors while also keeping a high profile as he considers a 2016 presidential run. He’s been to New Hampshire four times but when asked about his future in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Christie said only that he hopes to visit Concord in January to watch Havenstein’s swearing-in.

“I hope to come up here and work with your governor elect,” he told reporters.

Earlier Friday, he campaigned in Rhode Island with Republican gubernatorial candidate Alan Fung, pledging to do “everything we possibly can” to help Fung defeat Democrat Gina Raimondo, who’s now the state treasurer. Christie said that governor’s race wasn’t on the RGA’s radar six months ago.

“It is now firmly on our map,” Christie told reporters.

In New Hampshire, voters at events in Berlin and Lancaster said job creation is the top issue in the North Country. Jerry Jordan, of Berlin, said the North Country never gets as much attention as the southern part of the state, and he doesn’t think Hassan’s done enough for the region.

“If you’re going to be governor, you’ve got to do the whole state,” he said.

Havenstein talked about his plan to create 25,000 jobs and said improving infrastructure in the North Country is a key to bringing jobs to the area.

Hassan’s campaign said Havenstein doesn’t understand the North Country enough to be governor. Berlin is home to a biomass plant, and Hassan’s campaign pointed to comments Havenstein made earlier this year that such plants aren’t economically viable.

The events Friday showed a marked difference between their first joint appearance in June, when many voters came to see Christie. In contrast, many residents Friday came out wanting to hear from Havenstein.

“I think New Hampshire needs some new direction, and I’m hoping he’s going to be it,” said Rosalie Thomas of Berlin.

___

Associated Press writer Erika Niedowski in Johnston, R.I., contributed to this report.

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