With the crowded Republican presidential field still without a definitive front-runner, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reportedly is seriously considering entering the race.
GOP operatives have been courting Christie for months, trying to get the firebrand Garden State executive into the race now that front-running Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign has cooled off following a series of disappointing debate performances.
Those efforts have intensified and now appear to be drawing Christie closer to deciding, according to a (Newark) Star-Ledger report that cited an unnamed source close to the governor.
Though other candidates have had much more time to organize campaigns and raise money, there's still room for Christie to enter, according to Tony Fratto, partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and former deputy press secretary to President George W. Bush.
"It's not at all too late. He probably has until the end of October," Fratto said in a CNBC interview. "Chris Christie is one of those candidates, maybe the only candidate, who can get in really late because he can very, very quickly raise money."
Fratto said Republican fundraisers still on the sidelines are "not waiting for a candidate, they're waiting for this candidate to get in."
Recent reports have indicated that some of the most prominent Republican names in the country have been pushing Christie to declare. They include former first lady Nancy Reagan as well as members of the Bush family, who have sought to assure the governor's wife, Mary Pat, that the couple's children can still live a normal life even if raised in the White House fishbowl.
"This country needs a straight shooter and a proven leader," former New York Gov. George Pataki said in a statement. "I urge Governor Chris Christie to run for president to fill the void and lead America forward."
The end of October is an important signpost in the race as it marks the deadline to get in the Florida primary.
Christie is currently on a cross-country tour in which he has made a series of speeches criticizing President Obama, including one in which he said the incumbent is "demonizing successful people in America."