With New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie appearing headed to certain victory in his re-election bid Tuesday, fellow Republican Rand Paul said moderates like Christie are vital to the party.
But Paul isn't so certain a Christie win should signal a shift to the center for the GOP.
"The Republican Party is a big party, and we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey. What that means about the national party, I'm not sure," Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, told CNN's "The Situation Room
CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Paul if Christie is the person to beat in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.
"I think the party in general is more conservative," Paul answered. But many states, such as Iowa and South Carolina are very conservative, he added, and Christie may not play as well there.
"New Hampshire, I think, is conservative with a little bit of a libertarian bent," he added. "It's a tough road, but I think we need ideas and we need a broader party in many ways. I welcome him to the party and I think he's an important part of it."
Paul and Christie both are considered among early favorites
for the Republican nomination.
They engaged in a spat
earlier this year after Paul, who has a libertarian bent himself, was criticized by Christie over his foreign policy.
Still, Paul said in August, if Christie ends up being the GOP nominee in 2016, he will vote for him
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