Christie moves up timeline for '16 decision
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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) early and aggressive moves into the 2016 presidential field have reportedly pushed up the timeline for Gov. Chris Christie's (R-N.J.) decision on whether to run.

The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that Christie has moved up his planned public move into the race from February or March to later this month. The report cites a person familiar with Christie’s thinking on the matter.

Bush has a jump on what’s expected to be a large and diverse field of GOP contenders in 2016.

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Last month, he announced he’d be “actively exploring” a presidential run and quickly moved to untangle his business interests. Bush resigned en masse from the companies that paid him handsomely either in an advisory role or on a corporate board.

On Tuesday, Bush unveiled his new leadership PAC and super-PAC. That move jump-starts the process of raising the tens of millions of dollars he’ll need to make it through the Republican primaries and the hundreds of millions he’ll need if he makes it to the general election.

Christie maintains that his decision to run remains independent of Bush’s decision, but strategists say he’s feeling the heat.

Christie and Bush are viewed as centrist Republicans and establishment figures who will be fighting for the same money, high-profile backers and topflight campaign staffers.

That means Christie is reaching the point where he’ll have to decide to fully take the plunge and leave his post as New Jersey governor before his term expires in 2017.

Christie’s governorship leaves him hamstrung on the fundraising end, as election laws limit the ability of sitting governors to raise money while they’re in office.

Christie will spend January taking a victory lap for his work as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, attending a string of governors’ inaugurations across the country.

That will take him to early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina, as well as critical battleground states Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

His efforts as head of the RGA have burnished his reputation as a strong executive, and helped him build a network of fundraisers and powerful allies in the states where Republicans will fight it out for the party’s presidential nomination.

But with Bush forging ahead, strategists say it’s nearing time for Christie to do the same if he’s going to take advantage of that network.