New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
"America is tired of hand-wringing and indecisiveness and weakness in the Oval Office. We need to have strength and decision-making and authority back in the Oval Office," Christie said at a rally at his old high school in Livingston, New Jersey.
"And that is why today, I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America."
Christie — whose brash, take-no-prisoners attitude has earned him both praise and criticism — is focusing his campaign around his straight-talk style, saying in a campaign video that he will be "telling it like it is."
Earlier this year in New Hampshire, he unveiled his plans to address entitlement spending, an often risk-intensive political subject that many Republicans have spoken about over the last five years, but few have emphasized as a core part of their platform.
But the circumstances in which Christie launches his campaign are very different than they were even at the end of last year, when Christie seemed to be moving on from past scandals and on the road to political redemption.
Despite numerous investigations, no evidence had surfaced implicating the governor in the 2013 lane closures of the George Washington Bridge. (Two of his senior administration officials have since been indicted and another one of his key allies has pleaded guilty.) As chair of the Republican Governor's Association during the 2014 elections, Christie was applauded for his ability to raise large sums of money. Under his leadership, the number of Republicans governors increased from 29 to 31.
Things took a turn in February, when a New York Times report hit Christie for his lavish spending of taxpayer money while on official business. That same day, while on a trade visit to the United Kingdom, Christie found himself at the center of a controversy over vaccination when he said parents "should have some measure of choice" in making the decision to inoculate their child (there was an outbreak of measles across the United States at the time).
A Wall Street Journal poll in March found that 57% of likely Republican voters couldn't see themselves voting for Christie — the only candidate less desirable was Donald Trump. His popularity in his own state of New Jersey hasn't fared much better either.
Christie is the 14th Republican to enter the presidential race, with even more expected to join in the coming months.