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2016 plans? Ex-Christie staffer leaving NH GOP

The director of the New Hampshire Republican Party is stepping down, a full year before the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary – raising questions over whether he might return to his previous employer, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as part of a budding 2016 campaign.

Matt Mowers, a former aide and 2013 campaign staffer for Christie, is leaving his post at the end of January.

Mowers is leaving the highly coveted job in prime political territory after joining the party over a year ago. But in an interview with Fox News, Mowers stayed mum on his future plans. He said he is “still trying to finalize things at this point,” and joked, “As soon as I know I am sure, you will know.”

As executive director of the party, Mowers’ sole focus was building a Republican majority in last fall’s midterms, a feat he achieved on the state level.

Political strategist Ryan Williams, who used to work on the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012, told Fox News that Mowers’ move isn’t surprising in the context of New Hampshire politics. He suggested he could be eyeing joining team Christie, should the governor proceed with a Republican presidential run. 

“It’s pretty common actually to see staff that worked in New Hampshire during the midterm election to move onto presidential campaigns,” he said. “Especially if those staffers have a previous history with one of the potential candidates.”

Williams said Mowers’ experience in the early primary state could be useful for Christie, saying “he would be a very good resource for Governor Christie if he does decide to run." He said it’s “always helpful” to hire people who know New Hampshire and its activists.  

Christie, who was a frequent visitor to New Hampshire during the midterms, has yet to visit since the election.

Elissa Voccola, who formerly served as the executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, will succeed Mowers.

Hillary Vaughn is a correspondent for FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network and is based in Los Angeles, CA.

Twitter: @vaughnFNC