Bloomberg by the Numbers: 36

Photograph by Rich Schultz/AP Photo

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Union City, N.J.

That’s how many states are holding governors’ elections next year.

Republicans are the defending party in 22 of those contests, compared with 14 for the Democrats.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Republican-held governorships in Florida, Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania as tossups. The same designation is given to Democratic-held governorships in Arkansas and Illinois.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will become chairman of the Republican Governors Association this week and will oversee fundraising and strategy for his party’s candidates.

Christie’s “connections to wealthy individual and corporate donors are about to expand exponentially” as he prepares to assume the chairmanship of the RGA and also weighs a 2016 presidential campaign, Bloomberg’s John McCormick reports today.

The job will allow Christie to build a national network of donors and political supporters ahead of a potential White House bid.

The RGA basically is “a large bank,” with its chairman acting as a CEO who can make “invaluable” connections, Eric Fehrnstrom, an aide to Mitt Romney when he was RGA chairman and during his two presidential campaigns, told McCormick.

“My job is to be supportive of those 36 races, to make the strategic choices about where we should invest the most money to yield the greatest success,” Christie said Nov. 18 at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting in Washington.

Christie’s new job involves a lot of travel, including to states that outsized influence in selecting presidential candidates. Look for Christie to promote the re-elections of Govs. Terry Branstad of Iowa, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Rick Scott of Florida as well as the election of the New Hampshire Republican who emerges as the party’s nominee against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

At the same meeting, Christie said he would make a decision about a 2016 presidential campaign “when I have to.”

“I think people who make decisions — and I think the folks who run companies here know this — if you make decisions before it’s the right time to make them, you increase geometrically the chance to screw that decision up,” Christie said. “Not something I want to screw up.”

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