- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. John Kasich will be joined at his swearing-in ceremony next week by fellow Republican and potential presidential contender Chris Christie.

A spokeswoman for Kasich’s inauguration committee confirmed Monday that the New Jersey governor plans to attend Kasich’s Jan. 12 inaugural celebration at the historic Southern Theatre in downtown Columbus. The second-term Ohio governor will be formally sworn in at midnight Jan. 11.

The stop allows Christie more face time in Ohio, one of the nation’s most divided swing states, ahead of the 2016 presidential race. Christie also stumped for Kasich, who’s also talked about as a potential White House contender, during last year’s midterm elections in his role as president of the Republican Governors Association.

Kasich and Christie consider themselves friends, with the two sharing a penchant for speaking their minds and sometimes bucking their party.

Kasich’s ceremony is among a string of inaugurals Christie plans to attend around the country this month, according to an aide.

He begins with a stop at Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, another important swing state. He’ll be accompanied there by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Later appearances are planned at the inaugurations of Massachusetts Gov.-elect Charlie Baker, Illinois Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan.

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Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Newark, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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