TODAY   |  November 21, 2013

Christie’s new job gives him national influence

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was named chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association Tuesday, giving him national influence. NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> the national spotlight is about to get even brighter for new jersey governor chris christie as he takes over as chairman of the republican governor's association today. nbc's kelly o'donnell joins us from scottsdale, arizona, christie is meeting with donor, kelly, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie, chris christie was chosen to lead their national organization and this new high profile role gives him a chance to challenge his party and maybe himself across the country. fresh off his re-election as new jersey governor, chris christie begins a second job today. one that gives him broad international influence as the head of the republican governor's association.

>> i getting great response from donors and a faux governor. it will be a great year, 36 races, it will be fine.

>> reporter: donors and supporters are meeting at a resort near phoenix, making this a convention of big time political ambition. speculation for 2016 is inescapable.

>> i would think there are some people in this room that are encouraging you to look just beyond this job.

>> oh, no, everyone here is laser no cussed on 2014 . so no one mentions anything else. do the best job you can, everything has been wonderful, really good.

>> it is seen as a springboard. ronald reagan ran for president and for the past year, louisiana governor bobby jindal has been in charge. he brushes off 2016 talk for himself and other presidential hopefuls.

>> i think as a party, we need to focus on the next election, not the next next election.

>> reporter: jindal and christie will travel the country raising money for their party's candidates no. 1 priority for you?

>> elect and reelect governor, priority one, two, three, that's it. you are a chairman of this organization, that's it.

>> reporter: several republican governors are taking the steps to make themselves visible for a potential white house run, but their focus really is on these next elections and they already as a group are running against washington function even within their own party.