WASHINGTON - Embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie was sworn in for his second term on Tuesday. But some political watchers, even those within his own Republican Party, question if it could be the beginning of the end of his presidential aspirations for 2016.
Mr Christie, 51, has been under a cloud of allegations over political retribution and the misuse of funds meant to help the state recover from 2012's Hurricane Sandy, with growing questions over whether he would survive these snowballing political scandals, never mind win the White House.
His political fate in the coming months also raises major electoral questions for the Republicans, who are still searching for a candidate who can help the party reverse the drubbings in the past two US presidential elections.
In a sign of the governor's current troubles, his office spent the eve of his second-term inauguration battling the growing scandals, rather than talking about his priorities for the coming term.
Mr Christie reportedly had to convince donors, even in his party's stronghold, that his problems burnish, not undermine, his reputation for solving problems.
CNN reported Republican strategist Ana Navarro saying donors were putting on hold their plans to back a Christie 2016 ticket.
"Nobody's ready to get on board, but nobody's running away from Christie either. This buys time for the donors, for other potential candidates, and it gives Christie time to set the ship straight in New Jersey."
A different assessment was given by BuzzFeed political editor McKay Coppins, who wrote that the interest he is seeing from investors stems from "morbid curiosity - not solidarity with the governor".