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Controversy Swirls As Speculation Continues Over Christie’s Potential Presidential Bid

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Will New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie run for president?

Pollsters say his visits to key states including Iowa and New Hampshire are good indications he wants his party’s nomination.

But as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, controversy is swirling around the governor for not backing fellow Republican Rob Astorino, who is running against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and it could cost Christie support from his own party.

When asked why he wouldn’t support Astorino, Christie said the gubernatorial candidate does have his support.

“All I have done is said I am not going to invest money in a race that is a 35-point race,” Christie said.

The governor has called Astorino a “lost cause” because he is so far behind in the polls.

In response, Astorino said Christie should step down as the Republican Governors’ Association chair because he’s in cahoots with Cuomo, Sloan reported.

“My job as RGA chairman is to invest our money in the places we have the best chance to win,” Christie countered.

A new Eagleton Institute of Politics poll found New Jersey residents are convinced the governor wants to run for president, despite dealing with the George Washington Bridge scandal.

“His chances this time are pretty much nil,” one New Jersey resident said of Christie’s chances in the presidential election.

“I actually support Chris Christie, he is good for America,” said Westfield resident Brian Fitzpatrick.

Pollster David Redlawsk, however, said Christie needs support from the conservative wing of his party to get the nomination, and the bickering with Astorino is not helping.

“He’s straight forward and to the point, but it may also be a potential downfall that he says things in ways that people can’t necessarily imagine a president talking,” Redlawsk said.

“I think everybody should focus themselves — in New York – on the race in New York, and not worry about the governor of New Jersey,” Christie said.

Some polls put Christie is in the middle of the pack of possible Republican candidates, but behind Hillary Clinton, Sloan reported.

If he chooses to run, an announcement would likely come in the middle of 2015.

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