By Mike DeNardo

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBS) — Governor Chris Christie heads to the gym of his old high school in Livingston, New Jersey, this morning, where he’s expected to launch his bid for president of the United States.

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Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin says there is no doubt Christie is entering the race.

 

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“No. I’m surprised that anybody honestly thinks that there would be. He’s been running for a number of years already,” Dworkin says. “This is just the formal announcement.”

 

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Christie unveiled a campaign website over the weekend.

Dworkin believes Christie has a real shot to emerge from the crowd. “He has the most engaging personality of any of the people who have announced,” Dworkin says. “We’ll have to see how he holds up when the discussion turns to foreign policy because he hasn’t had to deal with that. But I think, absolutely. He’s a major-level candidate with significant political skills.”

 

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Amid Bridgegate and meager economic growth, Christie’s approval rating in his home state has sagged. But Dworkin says Christie has seven months to display his blunt-talking personality in New Hampshire and Iowa. “That allows him an ability to get people to hear him. Even people who are not sure they agree with him come away liking him after they hear him.”

 

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Dworkin says the two things that will help distinguish Christie from the 13 other GOP hopefuls, are his personality and time. The seven months before Iowa and New Hampshire vote will give Christie a chance to take advantage of his skills at retail politics.

 

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As a result, Dworkin predicts Christie will be much stronger in national polls once actual voting begins.