Christie's powerful new role: Chairman of the Republican Governors Association

Thirty-six governors are up for election next year, and that adds up to a lot of face time across the nation…

Christie and his executive committee will decide how the RGA spends its considerable money and resources, defending seats the party currently holds and taking chances on new candidates.

He knows the drill better than anyone. When former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour took the reins of the RGA in June 2009, his faith in Christie meant the group would invest $7.5 million to his campaign against the better-funded Jon Corzine.

“If it wasn’t for Haley Barbour, I wouldn’t be governor of New Jersey,” Christie told The Star-Ledger at a gathering of governors last year. “A guy like that who was with you when not only wasn’t there anybody on the bandwagon, there wasn’t a bandwagon, you remain incredibly indebted to somebody like that.”