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Downballot: Christie approval hits 72%

Charlie Cook lays out the 2014 Senate landscape.

GEORGIA: Karen Handel is thinking about running for the U.S. Senate and challenge incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

ILLINOIS: There will be a special primary election to replace resigned Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Feb. 26, the Chicago Tribune reports. The general election will be March 19, but could be pushed back to April 9 when other municipal elections are scheduled to be held. But it is outside the mandated window of a special election taking place 115 days after when a vacancy occurs.’

NEW JERSEY: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has filed papers to seek re-election next year, while enjoying a popularity surge due to his hands-on response to Superstorm Sandy, the worst natural disaster in state history,” AP writes

“Just hours after Gov. Chris Christie announced he’s running or re-election, a new poll shows a strong majority of New Jersey voters are behind him,” the New Jersey Star-Ledger writes. “The Rutgers-Eagleton poll of 1,108 registered voters shows 59 percent support re-election for Christie while 32 percent oppose.” Christie leads Cory Booker 53-34% in the poll.

A Quinnipiac poll shows Christie’s approval up to 72% in the aftermath of Sandy with 95% thinking he did an “excellent” or “good” job handling the superstorm.