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NJ Gov. Christie's Focus: Rebuilding, Re-election

ANGELA DELLI SANTI

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (AP) â¿¿ New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to spend the next year leading efforts to rebuild his home state after Superstorm Sandy â¿¿ and running for re-election.

Christie announced his intention to seek a second term Monday, after telling his campaign treasurer to file papers so he can begin hiring campaign staff, selecting a headquarters and raising money toward his re-election. A formal announcement is expected in January.

"It would be wrong for me to leave now. I don't want to leave now," Christie, 50, said Monday. "We have a job to do. That job won't be finished by next year."

"The public needs to know that I'm in this for the long haul, that the person who has helped to lead them through the initial crisis wants to help lead them through the rebuilding and restoration of our state," he said at a news briefing at a fire house in Middletown, where he had come to thank first responders and volunteers.

The gubernatorial election is a year from now. The governor said he talked it over with his wife and four children, ages 9 to 19, over the weekend, and the decision that he should run was unanimous.

So far, no one has stepped forward to challenge him as governor. Several Democrats, most prominently Newark Mayor Cory Booker, have been thinking aloud about running for their party's nomination. Christie said he hadn't spoken with Booker other than by text in about 10 days and he didn't know the mayor's political intentions.

One recent public opinion poll ranked Booker as the Democrat who could come closest to beating the Republican governor.

But a new poll released Tuesday shows six out of 10 registered voters now support a second term for Christie, up 15 points since September.

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