Tuesday night was a good night for Republicans across the board, but big gubernatorial wins could especially pay dividends for Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) in 2016. 

The chairman of the Republican Governors Association not only increased the number of GOP governors in office, he was also able to pull off a few unexpected victories. 

{mosads}Insiders say those victories could help Christie should he decide to run for president, pointing to his success in solidly blue territory and fundraising prowess. 

“He raised a helluva ton of money for races and had a great night,” said GOP strategist Rick Wilson. “He met a lot of friends, made a lot of contacts, and did the road-warrior campaign thing that is good training for 2016.”

Christie can boast increasing Republican governors from 29 to 31, and he set a fundraising record — more than $106 million during Christie’s tenure as chairman. He even flipped four Democratic-held states to the GOP column: Massachusetts, Arkansas, Illinois and Maryland.

The latter was considered one of the greatest political upsets on Tuesday. In the Bay State, Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan beat Democrat Anthony Brown in a stunning political upset on a 54 percent to 44 percent. Christie made several appearances in Maryland, despite most pollsters predicting Brown would win. 

“He put gas in the tank and they went out and crushed it,” Wilson said.

But Christie’s tenure wasn’t without some political drama. In Wisconsin, GOP Gov. Scott Walker was in a tight race against Democratic challenger Mary Burke. There were reports that Walker, another potential 2016 contender, was irked that Christie hadn’t put more cash into the race.

In the end though, Walker won and all will be forgotten, said Wilson.

“A win is a win,” Wilson said. “It’s pretty inside baseball and both sides are walking it back.”

Previous RGA chairman have gone on to mount president runs, including 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Strategists say that the RGA chairmanship can be used to help give candidates a richer understanding of state politics.

One source close to the committee’s officials said that Christie “didn’t micromanage” the RGA team. 

Christie proved himself to be a superior campaigner, said Phil Cox, RGA executive director. He traveled to 37 states — including 19 states in the final five days of the campaign, said Cox.

“That’s the kind of schedule for a candidate running in a national election,” Cox said. “He wanted to see if he could hold up to it — well he did more than hold up to it. He surpassed it.”

Christie has insisted in recent public interviews following the election that he was solely focused on 2014 and not 2016.

“It’s not about me,” he said on NBC’s “Today Show” following Election Day.

Cox said that strategically, Christie made a last-minute call for the RGA to go into $3.5 million in debt by injecting money into the Maryland and Colorado, Cox said. 

While Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) narrowly defeated GOP candidate Bob Beauprez by less than three percentage points, Hogan won Maryland.

“Gov. Christie deserves the lion share of the credit,” Cox said. “He was tireless and determined. His leadership was instrumental in our success. He said repeatedly that his number one political priority was the election of Republican governors. He backed that up.”

Tags 2014 2016 Presidential race Chris Christie Maryland New Jersey RGA Scott Walker

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