Photo by Beth Ethier


Chris Christie is a master of pre-presidential innovation. Having spent the 2014 midterm season hitting key states to campaign for Republican candidates, Christie has moved on to a bold new tactic: inviting Iowans to decide which laws are best for New Jersey where he is, at least nominally, still governor.

During a recent trip to Iowa to entertain some of Rep. Steve King's closest personal donors during the congressman's annual pheasant hunt, Christie showed off the varsity-level pandering skills that make him a serious contender for the 2016 Republican ticket. In a conversation with an ordinary Iowan who got the money to attend King's exclusive fundraiser from a gigantic pig operation, Christie took the opportunity to jump in bed with Big Pork by pledging to veto a bill that would ban the use of gestation crates on New Jersey pig farms.

The Republican governor, who traditionally backs off from declaring how he’ll act on pending legislation when asked by reporters, made his intentions clear on a pig gestation crate bill when asked last month about it during a visit to Northwest Iowa, according to a pork producer.

“He indicated to us that he was going to veto the bill,” said Bill Tentinger, an Iowa pork producer and former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

This is the second attempt by New Jersey lawmakers to ban gestation crates, which hold pregnant sows in rigid positions for months on end and are so cruel that noted animal rights activists McDonald's and Burger King don't want their pork suppliers using them. Christie vetoed a similar ban in 2013 after consulting with Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who also weighed in on this year's version. Iowa doesn't want any more states to ban these crates, either because it raises the specter of some kind of evil federal regulation on the subject or because it makes Iowans look mean for allowing many of their 20 million pigs to be raised in these conditions.

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