John O'Brien Oct. 21, 2014, 11:56am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – Stressing the need for 2016 presidential candidates, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday spoke to the importance of gubernatorial elections in 2014.

Christie, who spoke at the Legal Reform Summit held by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, said gubernatorial elections are even more important than this year’s Senate races.

“I am convinced the next president of the United States will be a governor, and it needs to be,” said Christie, who was planning to fly to Illinois after his speech to campaign for Bruce Rauner.

Legislators aren’t cutting it in the role of president, Christie said, though he added that he hopes the GOP regains a majority in the Senate. If the GOP wants a strong Republican candidate for 2016, it needs a "good bench" of Republican governors, he said.

Christie is in his second term as governor of New Jersey and has said he is thinking about running for president in 2016.

He is also currently the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He said states like Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts should rectify the mistakes they made in 2010 when they elected Democratic governors.

Republican governors, he said, will focus on lower taxes, fewer regulations on businesses and tort reform measures.

He plans on visiting 20 states this month. He said 11 of the 36 governor races are toss-ups.

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