(CBSNews.com) - Chris Christie has filed papers to seek a second term as New Jersey governor, an adviser told CBS News.
Christie, the famously outspoken Republican and a rising star in the GOP, can now move forward with some of the logistical steps involved in a re-election bid: Hiring staff, establishing headquarters, and raising money. His formal announcement that he will seek re-election is not likely to come until January, according to the adviser.
In the weeks since Superstorm Sandy, Christie's popularity has seen a significant uptick, according to a recent poll from Rutgers University's Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. Christie's favorable rating jump 19 points from pre-Sandy levels, to 67 percent, and he was viewed by most New Jerseyans as having handled the storm well. Not everyone is happy with Christie: The former Mitt Romney surrogate has taken criticism from the right for his effusive praise for President Obama just days before the 2012 election.
Christie's first term is up in January of 2014, and several Democrats - including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, State Sen. Barbara Buono and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald - are thought to be among those considering challenging him. Booker, who has become well known in his state, is considered Democrats' best chance at defeating Christie, but he's also said to be considering a 2014 Senate bid - an option that might become increasingly appealing if Christie's popularity remains at current levels.
Many believe a second term for Christie as governor would serve as something of a lead-in to a possible 2016 presidential bid. He rejected efforts from GOP donors to enter the 2012 contest, was among the most discussed names to become Romney's running mate, and was granted the prime keynote speaking slot at the Republican National Convention this summer.
Whether Christie's appeal to the GOP establishment remains intact is unclear. Reports following the election suggested he hadn't been able to immediately repair the political damage that followed his now-famous embrace of the president.
According to a CBS News source, Christie aides were so concerned about the blowback from Christie's embrace of the president following the storm that they were reaching out to GOP operatives (as well as reporters) the morning after Election Day to assess the damage.
According to a senior Romney aide, Christie spoke to Romney during Sandy and told the candidate he was out of the political game for the rest of the campaign. Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse gave Romney a briefing after the election that emphasized the power of Sandy in boosting Mr. Obama. But according to the source, the Romney campaign believes it was the storm itself -- not Christie's embrace of the president specifically -- that worked against the GOP nominee.
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