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Chris Christie at the White House in 2020. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seriously considering running for president in 2024, three people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Driving the news: While Christie isn't saying anything publicly about his thinking — besides telling radio host Hugh Hewitt he's not ruling it out — people close to him have an early sense of the rationale and outlines of a potential candidacy.

The big picture: Absent another run by former President Trump, the field would be wide open.

  • Christie, whose 2016 bid for the nomination was short-lived, has told friends that he'd be the only person in the 2024 field with executive experience who has run a presidential race before.
  • That's a clear shot at one potential rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's enjoying a surge of popularity from Republican voters for his handling of COVID-19 and his sparring with the media but hasn't yet endured the scrutiny of a presidential bid.
  • Christie could run on a reputation for toughness that appeals to Trump's base minus the former president's recklessness, said one source. Another said he has a mix of combativeness and charisma that Republicans are looking for to take on President Biden and Democrats.
  • He has potential crossover appeal to blue-collar and suburban right-of-center voters.
  • And his experience as a former federal prosecutor could help distinguish him in debates and prepare for a primary contest in which there may be less of a premium on ad-libbing than in 2016.

Between the lines: Christie has a steep hill to climb if he does decide to run. In 2016, his candidacy got a walloping by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as well as the unexpected, once-in-a-generation political phenomenon that was Trump.

  • Now that Christie is out of any elected office, his statements don't carry the newsworthiness of a sitting governor's or a senator's.
  • But from his perch as an ABC contributor, Christie has been making statements designed to get headlines and position himself as a top Republican attack dog against Biden. On a recent "This Week" appearance, Christie accused Biden of "lying" in his descriptions of infrastructure.

The bottom line: Christie has told associates that Trump's decision about running again in 2024 won't affect his own decision-making.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First fatality confirmed in downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

Driving the news: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event San Francisco, California, on Friday. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Bash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.