Christie could announce presidential bid as soon as next week

Chris Christie is in the final stages of preparing his 2016 presidential bid, with a formal announcement possible as soon as next week, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.

The New Jersey governor’s planning has intensified in recent days. On Monday, his campaign-in-waiting announced that he’d hired two additional staffers in New Hampshire, a state seen as critical to his White House hopes. Earlier this month, Maria Comella, a longtime Christie aide, departed the governor’s official office to take a senior position at his political action committee.

A Christie spokeswoman, Samantha Smith, declined to comment. The governor’s aides have previously said that he isn’t likely to launch his presidential campaign until the New Jersey legislature finalizes the state budget — expected to be around the end of June.