John Schoonejongen, Gannett New Jersey Bureau
MIDDLETOWN, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has announced he will seek re-election to a second term.
Christie says he want New Jerseyans to know that he's "in this for the long haul" as he leads the state's recovery from Superstorm Sandy, the Associated Press reported.
The governor confirms he filed election papers during a trip to Middletown to thank first responders and volunteers who have helped in storm recovery efforts.
With New Jersey just starting on a long road to rebuilding, the 50-year-old Republican governor says "it would be wrong for me to leave now."
The election is scheduled for November 2013.
Christie today filed what is called a D1 form, a single candidate committee certificate of organization and designation of campaign treasurer and depository.
The papers allow him to set up his campaign, hire staff and raise money.
As far as ELEC is concerned, Christie is now a candidate for reelection, said Joseph Donohue, deputy director of ELEC.
Christie's future has been the source of speculation for more than a year, first as a potential presidential candidate, then as a vice presidential pick and now on whether the Republican would run for a second term.
The governor's quietness on the issue of a reelection bid also led to speculation on which Democrats might run next year. Several Democrats - such as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, state Sen. Barbara Buono, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald - are rumored to be interested, but no one has yet declared officially.
Following his response to Sandy, Christie has been enjoying a surge in popularity in New Jersey, but there has been partisan criticism within Republican circles of the governor's embrace of President Barack Obama during the president's visit to the storm-ravaged state days before the Nov. 6 general election. Some have gone so far as to blame the governor for Obama's reelection.
Polls, however, have shown that New Jerseyans thought Christie's dealings with Obama were appropriate. Christie himself has worked to bolster his bipartisan credentials throughout the year, and he responded that providing leadership during the storm was more important than politics.
A reelection bid by Christie will bring a national focus on New Jersey, largely because the governor is considered a possible candidate for president in 2016.