DES MOINES, Iowa – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been silent in early voting primary states. If he decides to join the Republican presidential race, he would face the challenge of launching a campaign from a standing start.

Neither Christie nor his political team has reached out to GOP strategists or top party officials in Iowa or New Hampshire as the first-term governor reevaluates his oft-repeated refusal to seek the Republican nomination for president.

His lack of spade work would complicate an undertaking that already requires raising millions of dollars and establishing campaign operations in several states simultaneously. Adding to the challenges, Florida last week moved its primary into January, pushing the start of the 2012 nominating contests to barely three months away.

But Christie’s renewed look at a presidential bid without making a round of calls even to new, influential friends in Iowa and New Hampshire reflects confidence within Christie’s circle that the adoring and hungry Republican elites who have courted him can compensate for his organizational deficit with momentum.

As early as this week, Christie could announce whether he will run, reversing himself after more than a year of ruling out a candidacy. At a Monday night swearing-in ceremony for a Superior Court judge in Patterson, N.J., Christie remained coy, joking about coming to the ceremony “a little preoccupied.”

Campaign operatives, fundraisers and veteran presidential campaign advisers in Iowa and New Hampshire say no one with Christie has contacted them in recent weeks.

Iowa, where Gov. Terry Branstad has said he was wowed by Christie’s plainspoken style and call for reforming public employee benefits, would be a natural entry point for Christie in the leadoff caucus state.

But Christie and Branstad haven’t talked since Christie headlined an education conference at the Iowa governor’s invitation in July, said Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht.

In South Carolina, organizers close to the New Jersey governor have been making calls to key activists in the first Southern primary state to feel them out on organization and strategy.

“People who are involved in trying to get the governor to run have begun to come up with campaign plans in case he decides to run,” said a South Carolina GOP leader who did not want to be identified to avoid pre-empting a possible Christie announcement.

Christie buzz was even quieter in New Hampshire. The governor has visited neither New Hampshire nor South Carolina since taking office last year.