Steve King Clay County Debate

Congressman Steve King debates challenger Christie Vilsack at the Clay County Fair Saturday.

Russ Oechslin, Journal correspondent

There could be a smattering of Good Christie, Bad Christie jokes next week during a U.S. Rep. Steve King fundraiser to be held in Sioux City. In hosting his fifth annual Defenders of Freedom banquet and fundraiser, Congressman King has nabbed another notable keynote speaker in Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey.

Lots of Republicans wanted Christie, known for his blunt manner of speaking, to run for president in 2012, but he declined. He's a rising star for the Republican Party, and will speak Sept. 20 at King's event at Bev's On The River.

There will be another Christie in the room, so to speak, that day, as King's Democratic opponent for the Iowa 4th congressional district seat is Christie Vilsack. I imagine when people speak the word "Christie" that day, they will chortle as they attempt to make sure it is clear which Christie they mean.

King is pleased to have Christie, that's Chris Christie, for his event.

"Governor Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, are great friends. We first met when he was set up for a political excoriation before the House Judiciary Committee by then-Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)," King said in a release.

"I thought, 'Here is a principled, direct, and very smart man who is unjustly the target of partisan attack.' I used every minute to bring out the real truth and Chris Christie never forgot that day. When he offered to return to Iowa to help my campaign, it was a clear demonstration of the kind of character Governor Christie has and an example that shows why he has been so successful in New Jersey."

At one of the previous Defenders of Freedom banquets, U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., participated as a keynoter.

By the way, King and Vilsack have handled the first two of presumably several debates prior to the Nov. 6 election. Those played out on Thursday and Saturday, in Des Moines and Spencer respectively, and many people have been surprised by the strong barbs that Vilsack has directed at King.

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