They are rich. They are unattached. They are looking for a little excitement.
Meet the Draft Christie committee, a small but influential group of Republican-leaning donors and activists, many based in New York, united by a shared desire to see Gov.Chris Christie of New Jersey run for president.
There is Kenneth G. Langone, the billionaire Home Depot founder who is perhaps Mr. Christie’s most fervent booster; Paul E. Singer, the publicity-shy hedge fund magnate and Republican activist who is among the most-sought-after Republican donors in the country; and David H. Koch, the industrialist, Tea Party benefactor and, according to Forbes, the richest man in New York.
Charles R. Schwab, the personal investment guru, is also among those who have shown interest in seeing a Christie presidential bid, according to published reports and people familiar with the discussions, as is the financier Stanley F. Druckenmiller. So are the hedge fund managers David Tepper and Daniel S. Loeb, a onetime supporter of President Obama.
In recent months, Christie enthusiasts have lighted up the phone lines between Manhattan and Trenton trying to persuade the governor to enter the Republican field amid growing concern about the current contenders.
Several dozen potential Christie backers attended a meeting in July convened by Mr. Langone to introduce the governor to top-shelf Republican donors, many of them on the sidelines so far in the 2012 campaign. Others saw him in action in June, when Mr. Christie quietly flew to Colorado to speak at a private retreat hosted by Mr. Koch and his brother, Charles, another prominent Republican donor.
And while Mr. Christie has so far resisted their entreaties, he is facing a renewed effort in recent days following stumbles by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, whose debate performances and stances on Social Security, immigration and other issues have left many major donors looking again for someone they think can take on Mr. Obama next year.
“Christie understands what it is like to be a Republican in the Northeast,” said Lynn Krogh, a Republican campaign consultant in New York, adding: “He’s practical. He’s not just a barnburner.”
Buzz about Mr. Christie’s presidential prospects intensified in recent days after a previously unknown group, the Committee for Our Children’s Future, unveiled a $1.5 million television advertising campaign in New Jersey promoting Mr. Christie’s accomplishments.
“Runaway spending. Record debt. Gridlocked government. Washington is backwards,” the script reads. “But Chris Christie, with bipartisan support, is taking New Jersey in another direction.”