New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken a major step toward a run for president in 2016, forming a political action committee that will allow him to raise money for a possible White House bid.
The creation of the committee, called Leadership Matters for America, was confirmed to Fox News by a Christie adviser. The paperwork was filed Friday before his address over the weekend to the Iowa Freedom Summit, a conservative gathering in Des Moines.
The committee, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, also allows Christie to begin to hire staffers, build the foundations of a campaign operation and travel across the country as he weighs a final decision on a run. He plans to make such trips starting in February, Fox News has learned.
The move comes one month after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced that he was launching a similar organization, which kicked off an aggressive race to lock down donors and may have drawn 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney into the race.
The PAC’s staffers will include Matt Mowers, a former Christie aide, who is stepping down from his job as executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party at the end of the month. Christie is named as its honorary chairman.
“We believe there’s a void right now in leadership throughout the country,” Christie’s chief political adviser Mike DuHaime told The Journal. “We aim to support candidates who are willing to take on tough problems and make tough decisions.”
A mission statement on the organization’s website echoes themes that Christie has focused in recent speeches, including remarks on Saturday in Iowa in front of conservative activists.
“America has been a nation that has always controlled events and yet today events control us. Why? Because leadership matters,” the mission statement reads. “It matters if we want to restore America’s role in the world, find the political will to take on the entrenched special interests that continually stand in the way of fundamental change, reform entitlement spending at every level of government, and ensure that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to a quality education.”
Christie, a former federal prosecutor who passed up the opportunity to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, turned quickly toward laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign after winning a second gubernatorial term in the heavily Democratic Garden State in 2013.