Interviews with Democratic and Republican insiders and strategists indicate that even if Christie seeks reelection (which while likely, isn’t a given), Booker is hardly a done deal for the Democratic nomination. Those strategists suggest the mayor is more likely preparing for a possible 2014 Senate battle, if Frank Lautenberg retires. Even if Booker does run against Christie in 2013, he’s no shoo-in a state rife with bitter intraparty battles pitting powerful party bosses against one another…

Speculation is rampant about whether the popular Christie will seek reelection, but he’s given no clear indication of his intentions. Christie’s top political adviser, Bill Palatucci, left his private sector job last week to focus on politics, but the governor told reporters that shouldn’t be read as a sign that he’ll run in 2013 or make a 2016 presidential bid. Palatucci was vice president and general counsel of Community Education Centers, a for-profit company that operates prisons and halfway houses in 17 states and that has come under increased scrutiny for alleged mistreatment of inmates. During superstorm Sandy, 15 inmates escaped from one of CEC’s New Jersey facilities…

In 2009, Christie was able to capitalize on a deep-seated dislike for then-incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine, coupled with a series of corruption busts in his role as U.S. attorney. But the climate would be different in 2013 after broad-based Republican losses in 2012 and even his leadership role in the hurricane’s aftermath could be in the rear-view mirror.

“I think right now, if the election were today, Christie would run over anybody, because he’s certainly benefiting from the perception of leadership in the aftermath of the storm,” New Jersey pollster David Redlawsk said. “There is no question that people are very positive about his initial response, both his taking leadership but also his interaction with the president.”