MIDDLETOWN, N.J. -- His popularity surging because of his handling of superstorm Sandy, Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday he will seek re-election so he can continue leading New Jersey through a recovery effort that he said will extend past his first term.
"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 in Middletown, where he had come to thank first responders and volunteers.
The gubernatorial election is a year from now. Christie said his wife and four children, ages 9 to 19, were unanimous in their decision he should run again.
The Republican governor filed papers with election officials yesterday, cementing his intention to seek a second term. The step allows him to set up a campaign headquarters, hire staff and raise money toward his re-election.
Christie carried the Democratic-leaning state by 86,000 votes in 2009, an upset win over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine.
Christie, 50, is riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because of how he handled the storm, which he said Friday had caused more than $29 billion in damages in New Jersey. He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" this month to lampoon his own televised storm briefings.
About the only criticism since superstorm Sandy hit the coast in late October has come from fellow Republicans who have lambasted him for embracing President Barack Obama as the two toured New Jersey's ravaged coastline six days before the presidential election. Some even blame Christie for tipping a close election to the president.