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Jindal, Christie picked to lead GOP governors

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 9:28 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, two Republicans eyed for potential White House runs, have been selected to lead the Republican Governors Association.

Jindal, who serves on the association's executive committee, will chair the group in 2013 under a plan that officials say has broad support from other Republican governors. Christie, the vice chairman, will take over in 2014.

The move gives the up-and-comers prominent leadership roles in the Republican Party and access to a national network of conservative donors, laying the groundwork for possible presidential bids in 2016 if Mitt Romney were to lose in November.

It's the clearest sign to date that Christie, who is up for re-election in 2013, will seek a second term.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the group's chairman, floated the plan in an email to GOP governors last week, an association official said.

Although the governors must formally approve the picks at their annual conference in November, there appears to be a consensus to move ahead, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been publicly announced.

An aide to Jindal, Timmy Teepell, said that Jindal had spoken with several of his fellow governors about the position. “He would be honored to serve if chosen, but right now, Gov. Jindal is focused on the upcoming elections and electing Mitt Romney,” he said.

Traditionally, the vice chair one year goes on to serve as chair the next. To avoid having Christie serve as chair the same year he is up for re-election, the order is being changed. Under a proposal reported on Monday by CNN, Jindal will serve as Christie's vice chair after relinquishing the chairmanship in 2014.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another Republican whose national profile is on the rise, will serve as Jindal's vice chair in 2013.

Christie mulled running for president in 2012 but opted against it and became one of Romney's most prominent supporters. Many in the party questioned whether he was biding his time for 2016, a buzz that grew louder when Christie was chosen to deliver the keynote at the Republican National Convention in August.

“There's no need for me to make any kind of decision until afterward,” Christie said in August.

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