christieNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie has filed papers to run for reelection next year. He was expected to run again -- and has been tossed out as a potential Republican presidential hopeful for 2016 -- but the announcement on Monday came surprisingly early, as Christie is, no doubt, capitalizing on his newfound popularity after Hurricane Sandy. I have to say I am quite pleased with his decision, but I don't know if I would have said that a few months ago.

I haven't been Christie's biggest fan over the years. I thought he was just another GOP hack who was trying to slash the social safety net that I think our country so desperately needs. He was Romney's stand-in for so much of the presidential race that I would cringe when I heard his name. When he was tossed out as a potential Republican VP, I thought good riddance.

But since Hurricane Sandy, I've become one of the Christie converts.

I grew up in New Jersey, down on the Jersey Shore, an area particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, and I have to say that I've been impressed by Christie in the wake of the storm. He's spent weeks on the ground, helping the people of New Jersey, giving them hope, and working to make sure that the state bounces back as quickly as it can.

I'm glad the state has someone like him, someone who so clearly loves New Jersey (and its patron saint, Bruce Springsteen) that it's hard not to want to give him a giant hug after listening to him talk about the devastation experienced by my home.

And I'm not the only one. A recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University finds that 70 percent of New Jersey voters give Christie a thumbs up. Before the storm, 55 percent approved of his performance. Those are some impressive numbers. He's even ridden his wave of popularity to SNL's Weekend Update, where he appeared in his signature fleece, and joked about how it's become part of his skin. Haha. Gross.

He's done a great job helping New Jersey get back on its feet, and I'm glad he's running again. "The public needs to know that I’m in this for the long haul, that the person who has helped to lead them through the initial crisis wants to be here to lead them through the rebuilding and restoration of our state," he said. Because rebuilding won't be done by next year. Christie isn't expected to make a formal announcement until January

It almost makes me wish I still lived in New Jersey so that I could vote there. (Although if Democrat Newark Mayor Corey Booker -- who has literally saved women from burning buildings -- were running against him, I'd have a tough choice!)

Do you think Chris Christie should be reelected?

 

Image via SNL