New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his challenger, Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, faced off Tuesday evening during their first debate.
There, they were trying to win over voters to earn the seat in the statehouse. That did not quell talk over whether Christie would make a bid for the White House, though.
The Republican governor was asked directly about whether he would run for president. Christie did not rule it out, saying at first that he didn't expect to be asked that in the debate.
“Listen, my mother told me a long time ago … do the job you have at the moment the best you possibly can and the future will take care of itself,” Christie said at the debate, held at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.
“The fact is, there have been people talking about me running for president since 2010 and they all said I would do it in 2012, and I said I wouldn’t and I didn’t. And the fact is after 2017, I’m going to be looking for another job anyway.
“I’m going to continue to do my job the best way I possibly can and I am not going to declare tonight … that I am or I am not running for president and you know what? People don’t expect me to, they expect me to do my job,” he said.
Christie emphasized that he would continue to work for New Jersey residents even if his time as governor is cut short by a move to Washington, despite jabs from Buono to the contrary.
“I can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Christie said. “I can do this job and also deal with my future.”
A recent poll shows Christie with a 33 point lead. Buono and Christie will face off in their final debate next week.