2014-06-21T033316Z_1_LYNXMPEA5K03F_RTROPTP_2_USA-POLITICS

New Jersey Chris Christie pays visit to New Hampshire

By Ted Siefer BEDFORD N.H. (Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday paid his first visit since 2012 to New Hampshire, a key state in presidential politics, touting a Republican candidate for governor while shrugging off questions about a 2016 run for the White House and “Bridgegate.” The stated purpose of Christie’s trip was to support the campaign of gubernatorial hopeful Walt Havenstein, a former executive at the international defense contractor BAE Systems. Should he win the Republican primary in September, Havenstein would challenge Maggie Hassan, the popular Democratic governor, who is seeking a second term in the November general election. Several Republicans said to be eyeing a bid for the White House in 2016 have already made visits to New Hampshire, a crucial political bellwether as home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries every four years.

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