Via the Associated Press:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken his firmest step yet toward running for president, launching an organization that allows him to raise money for a potential 2016 campaign. While not a formal entry into the race, opening the political action committee will allow 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. The creation of the political action committee — called Leadership Matters for America — was widely expected, and comes not long after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced in December he was launching a similar organization, which kicked off an aggressive race to lock down establishment donors and may have drawn 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney into the race. 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.
A recent poll showed Christie losing a potential matchup with Hillary Clinton by 13 points.