Chris Christie Decision On 2016 Presidential Run May Take Months

With one Republican already formally running for president and another about to announce he will run, Governor Christie is now saying he’ll decide whether to enter the contest in the “next three months or so.”

That extends the time frame for his presidential decision by several months, which could offer some advantages to Christie, once seen as a top-tier candidate but now trailing in polls nationally and losing favorability at home.

Chief among the reasons for Christie’s delay would be getting the state’s fiscal house in order amid lagging revenue and ballooning state pension payments – as well as possibly wrapping up the federal investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.

Some analysts said Christie could get a fundraising jump on his competition by announcing early, but there are also advantages to waiting. The ongoing federal investigation into the September 2013 lane closures continues, as do several outstanding issues in New Jersey: the need to fund transportation projects, another attempt at a pension overhaul, and the constitutionalrequirement to sign a balanced state budget by July 1.

“When you’re a governor, you’ve got to march to a beat of a different drum, you have to worry about your state at the same time,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns. “The best thing he could do right now is make sure that he’s got his ducks in a row in New Jersey and that he’s obviously dealt with the skeletons in his closet, because I have a feeling we’re going to have some ups and downs in this race.”

O’Connell said he thinks Christie is more likely to announce sometime in June. And he said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ranks among the possible front-runners for the nomination, faces a similar challenge of needing to govern his state. Cruz, on the other hand, needed to jump in early to define himself amid a crowded field of Republicans vying for the more conservative vote, O’Connell said.

O’Connell said Christie — whom he ranks third among the establishment candidates, behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — has experience in town-hall settings and could do well among New Hampshire voters who expect that kind of campaigning.

Read more from Melissa Hayes at NorthJersey.com

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