Illustration: Mark Marturello/The Des Moines Register

PARTY: Republican

BORN: September 6, 1962 in Newark, New Jersey

Chris Christie

What he’s got: The biggest, brusquest, most boisterous personality in the GOP field; unparalleled political brawling skills; executive experience as two-term governor of New Jersey; a set of first-term accomplishments, working his will with/over his state’s Democratic legislature, to score victories on taxes, budgets, and pension reform; demonstrated ability to win election in a deep-blue state with strong support from Hispanic and African-American voters; a potentially potent national donor network; a substantial, growing, serious-minded policy agenda; high name recognition; regular-guy relatability; media savvy galore; and a ready sense of humor (including a capacity, when it suits him, for self-deprecation).

What he lacks: Polling strength nationally, in the early-voting states, or at home, where his approval rating has dipped to 30 percent; with indictments issued and investigations ongoing, ability to put Bridgegate behind him fully; a convincing explanation for his state’s fiscal and economic woes (nine credit-rating downgrades since he took office, an unemployment rate one full point above the national average, a derisory 0.4 percent growth rate in 2014) in spite of those first-term wins; notable or broad backing from the sort of establishment Republicans who once pined for him to run; a path to the nomination that doesn’t require winning New Hampshire; national-security credentials; consistent calibration of his trademark outbursts so that they come across as candid and refreshing rather than arrogant and obnoxious.

Read Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s Scouting Report

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Orange You Glad We Gave Chris Christie A Hug?

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin do their own version of Chris Christie's "Cowboy Hug."


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Christie is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. He claims to have attended more than 100 of his concerts.


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