NJ Gov. Christie Has Tightrope To Walk For 2016 Presidential Bid

When one thinks of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, acrobatics might not be the first term that comes to mind.

But if rumors are true and the booming Republican governor does indeed plan to seek the GOP's presidential nomination in 2016, he'll need to perform an impressive circus trick: both building off the centrist support he's earned in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and repairing relations with an increasingly skeptical Republican base that sees his embrace of President Obama just days before the election as a betrayal.

But Republican strategists also admit that Christie is doing what is necessary to win re-election in 2013. Although Christie has a national profile, he still hails from a state where President Obama bested Mitt Romney by 17 percentage points. In 2009, Christie only narrowly beat Gov. John Corzine, an extremely unpopular incumbent and former CEO of Goldman Sachs who was facing re-election just a year after the financial market collapse. Next year, Christie could face a challenge from popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the Democratic Party likely to draw fundraising support from across the country.

“Right now his job is to win re-election in 2013, and obviously he’s doing what is in his best interests,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “This entire time, he’s been looking over his shoulder at Cory Booker.”

Read more from Justin Sink at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy