New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has taken a critical step on the path to a potential presidential run, sources told NBC News.
Christie filed paperwork late Friday with the FEC to form the "Leadership Matters for America" political action committee. Christie is staffing up and plans several political trips in February. Christie aides say the Governor has not made a final decision about a White House run at this time.
"There is a vehicle now for donors to get involved," an aide said.
This PAC isn't the same as a presidential campaign committee, but it would allow Christie to raise funds, travel the country and support other candidates. Aides say this "gives a more formal structure" to his political operation and his major donors. Christie's Iowa trip this weekend to speak at the Freedom Summit fell under this new PAC. "Leadership Matters for America" will be run by Finance Director Ray Washburne and senior advisors Phil Cox and Mike Duhaime.
Aides say Christie will makes stops for fundraising in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and California. He is scheduled to speak at Republican dinner events in Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire in February. He travels in his capacity as governor to the United Kingdom on a New Jersey mission this weekend.
Christie's PAC team will also include Republican aides with broad experience including former Christie chief of staff and Sandy Relief official, Cam Henderson; former RNC political director, James Garcia; and Phil Valenziano, who has worked for Iowa Gov. Branstad and Mitt Romney in 2012 in New Hampshire. The team also includes the New Hampshire Republican Party's Matt Mowers and RGA Finance Director, Paige Hahn.
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