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Why hasn’t Christie announced his candidacy?

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is going to run for the Republican nomination for president, which many people believe will happen, then why doesn’t he just announce he’s a candidate now, instead of prolonging the decision?

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Gov. Chris Christie
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

It turns out there are several reasons why that might not be the best idea.

“When you are declared candidate a whole different set of regulations follows your campaign about what you can and cannot do, how you can and cannot raise money, who you can and cannot consort with, really you have a freer hand when you might be a candidate than when you actually are a candidate,” said FDU political science Professor Dr. Peter Woolley.

Woolley said another reason to hold off on announcing a run for president is you want the buzz of anticipation to linger.

“As long as you’re a possible candidate, the topic is only whether or not you’re a candidate, it’s not about your record,” he said. “Once you declare as a candidate the conversation becomes about what you have done in the past, what you might do – it becomes about your record and your personality – you want to keep that conversation about whether I’m running.”

He added it’s also a benefit for Christie to let the dust settle after Bridgegate.

“When it comes to running for office, everybody wants as much distance and time between whatever their failures were and their current circumstances,” Woolley said. “His staff doesn’t want people evaluating Bridgegate and Christie’s candidacy for president side by side.”

Woolley also said a candidate who is not declared has a lot more latitude at a press conference or a public gathering than one who is declared.

“The declared candidate is expected to have a well thought out opinion on everything that’s brought up,” Woolley said. “Someone who is only speculatively a candidate can push off hard questions.”

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