Chris Christie's troubles brought him to Iowa this past weekend.

Carly hits Hillary, Gov. Chris Christie’s got 2016 trouble, and Mitt Romney embraces Utah and Mormonism.

A network of conservative advocacy groups backed by Charles and David Koch aims to spend a staggering $889 million in advance of the next White House election, part of an expansive strategy to build on its 2014 victories that may involve jumping into the Republican primaries. [Washington Post]

WITH THE trip to the Iowa Freedom Summit, as well as the launch of a PAC anticipating 2016, Gov. Chris Christie has all the markings of a serious candidate. There’s just one problem: Republicans who control who gets nomination aren’t very interested in him, according to a breakdown over at FiveThirtyEight. In fact, Christie doesn’t even look as good as Mitt Romney, according to the numbers, who is currently changing his game plan by embracing Utah and his Mormonism.

Some nominees, such as Democrats Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton, weren’t well known at this point in the campaign. Some, such as Republicans Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan, were very well known and popular. There was George W. Bush in 1999, who was particularly well liked, even if he wasn’t universally known. But no prior nominee had a net favorability rating more than 10 percentage points below where you’d expect given his name recognition.

Christie is 25 percentage points off the pace. His net favorable rating among Republicans in an average of YouGov polls so far this year, a December Monmouth University poll and a late November Quinnipiac University poll is just +19 percentage points. That was despite 77 percent of Republicans being able to form an opinion of him. Given his high name recognition, you would expect him to have a net favorable rating of +45 percentage points.

[FiveThirtyEight]

Senator Rand Paul, who didn’t attend Rep. Steve King’s extremist Iowa ring-kissing, loves the “moderates.”

“I think that the more, the merrier as far as I’m concerned,” the potential 2016 contender said Tuesday on Fox News. “I think we have [a] place in the party for moderates like Christie and Bush and Romney, and then there will also be conservatives. And hopefully, at least from a conservative point of view, we hope the moderates will divide up the vote and maybe allow a conservative to be the nominee.”

With all of these candidates, it won’t be easy to get attention.

Carly Fiorina decided to do it by going after Hillary Clinton. She got rewarded by coming in second to Gov. Scott Walker, according to reviews out of Iowa, people quoted saying Florina “did herself the most good.” Here’s how it began:

“…Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment. …

“Unlike Hillary Clinton I know…that our Ambassador to Libya and 3 other brave Americans were killed in a deliberate terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11.” She said our response to such an attack “must be more forceful than the arrest of a single individual a year later. … I have met Vladimir Putin and know that it will take more to halt his ambitions that a gimmicky “Reset” button. Having done business in over 80 countries and having served as the Chairman of the External Advisory Board at the CIA, I know that China is a state sponsor of cyberwarfare and has a strategy to steal our intellectual property. [And] I know Bibi Netanyahu and know that when he warns us, over and over and over again, that Iran is a danger to this nation as well as to his own, we must listen. [Breitbart]

It’s natural for Carly Fiorina to attack Hillary Clinton, trying to elevate herself to Clinton’s level. It’s exactly what Senator Rand Paul is doing, too, and it’s a primary qualification if you’re going to convince anyone you can compete with Clinton, let alone defeat her.