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With 2016 in Mind, Christie and NJ Prepare for 2014 [AUDIO]

Until New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie makes an official announcement about his future political plans, analysts say everything the Republican does will be viewed through the prism of a possible 2016 presidential run.

Governor Chris Christie answers press questions at the Statehouse
Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen

If that holds true, what do those analysts believe Christie needs to do in the Garden State over the next few years to ensure he remains the GOP front-runner?

“I think he’s going to play small ball,” said Ben Dworkin, professor of political science at Rider University. “There isn’t the money to do big, grand things. The key thing for him in the coming year will be to manage a budget where the money is going to be very tight.”

New Jerseyans can probably expect a much more partisan atmosphere in 2014, according to Dworkin, who said legislative Democrats may want to put Christie in a situation where he is trapped into vetoing a popular bill.

“”They don’t want to give Chris Christie a free ride to the Republican nomination, much less the presidency, and they want to position themselves to become governor,” Dworkin said. “They want to position themselves to be in even bigger leadership roles.”

Dworkin said policy proposals like tax cuts will help Christie in New Jersey as well as nationally, because everyone likes a tax cut. And even if Democrats won’t support it, Christie can say he tried to get one passed.

“The governor clearly has two constituencies to play to: the Republican national primary electorate, as well as his own base here in New Jersey,” Dworkin said. “I think he’s going to be trying to avoid difficult situations.”

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