Washington (CNN) - With news that a group of influential Iowa Republican donors is heading to New Jersey this month to meet Governor Chris Christie and urge him to run for President, he again on Monday insisted he will not become a candidate for the 2012 nomination.
"You have to feel in your heart you want to be president more than anything else, and I am not there right now," Christie told radio talk show host Chris Sitgall Monday morning.
He said his decision is final although he did agree to meet with the half dozen or so activists May 31st.
Asked whether it was possible a draft Christie movement could be successful in getting him into the race, he said "I think the days of a draft...I think those days are gone. I think the American people now want to see you out there pursuing it, running for it, making your case."
Bruce Rastetter, an energy company executive, and other Iowa businessmen hope to change Christie's mind when they meet with him.
"We want to encourage him from an Iowa perspective and a national perspective. We need a candidate like him in the race," Rastetter told CNN in an interview. He said this is not an indication he is unhappy with the current Republican candidates or thinks they are weak.
"I think the other people are good people, good candidates. Chris Christie is someone who is...unique...and direct," Rastetter said. "We are attracted by how he governs and addresses the issues."
If Christie holds firm in his decision, Rastetter said it is still good for the governor to "meet people and establish those relationships."
Christie's chief political adviser, Mike DuHaime, told CNN one major reason the governor chose to meet with Rastetter and the other Iowa activists is because they are close to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, for whom Christie campaigned last year. Also DuHaime said knowing "other people who will be influential" in the party will be "good for the governor" since Christie "likely will be influential in the party.'
Christie's influence could be a major influence in the GOP nomination process. Already probable candidates Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have met with him hoping to win his support. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will sit down with him in the coming days.
"I am going to continue to play a role as a leader in our party and I think appropriately so," Christie said in the radio interview. "I am happy to play that role if they think I can play an important part in a presidential campaign to help them and help us to elect a good Republican to replace President Obama in 2012 and clearly that is my goal to make sure we have a change in 2012."
He said in the radio interview he preferred the GOP nominee to be someone who has been a governor.
"When you have the responsibility to have run things and make executive decisions, I think it just trains you better to make decisions at the next level, at the federal level."
He mentioned Romney, Pawlenty and Huntsman all are former governors. Then he brought up current Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who has said he will decide in the coming weeks whether to run for the party's nomination.
"I have enormous respect for and would give serious consideration to supporting" him, Christie said.
As to whether Christie's meeting with the Iowa donors could signal interest in running for president in the future, "We are not looking past 2012, 2013," DuHaime told CNN.
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