(CNN) - A group of Republican legislators in South Carolina are launching an effort to draft New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the 2012 presidential race.
About a dozen lawmakers, led by state Reps. Kris Crawford and Phyllis Henderson, will hold a rally on the steps of the South Carolina state house next Wednesday to let Christie know he has supporters in the key early primary state.
The endeavor comes on the heels of an effort by a group of Iowa businessmen to get Christie out of Trenton and into the Republican race.
The governor met with the Iowa contingent last month but assured them that he plans to remain focused on New Jersey.
Crawford said his group is arranging a call with Christie and his staff to try once again.
"The thing that sets Christie apart is the challenges he has faced being a Republican in a blue state, and anybody who watched the race he went through to be governor makes you realize that here is a guy who has earned his chops," Crawford said. "Can he stand up to the Chicago Obama machine? Yeah, I think he can."
As for the rest of the GOP candidates, Crawford told CNN that he doesn't "see anybody in the field who has been tested and already been proven tough enough to weather the challenge this time."
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