There’s a shakeup brewing at the highest levels of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

State Attorney General Paula Dow is expected to step down by the end of the year, according to two people with knowledge of her plans.

Talk of Dow’s imminent departure has circulated for months, and she has expressed interest in becoming a judge. Speculation on her replacement has focused on Jeff Chiesa, Christie’s chief counsel who was a colleague in the U.S. Attorney’s office, several sources said.

The sources declined to be identified before a public announcement, which has not been scheduled.

But Dow has shared her intention to leave the attorney general’s office. At the wake for a slain Newark police officer on Thursday, state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) asked Dow whether she was stepping down.

"She said yeah," Rice said.

Attorney general is one of the most powerful positions in New Jersey government, serving as the state’s top cop and top lawyer. Dow leads a sprawling enterprise that oversees every county prosecutor’s office, gaming enforcement and the State Police. It’s a demanding position, and her predecessors have typically served a few years or less before leaving.

Christie has not publicly indicated whether he will nominate Chiesa as attorney general or Dow as a judge. Spokesmen for Dow and Christie declined to comment on Friday.

Information from: The Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com