New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is finally an official candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, but instead of leading the pack the way he had been a few years ago, he's now in the middle of it, and in some polls, at the end of it.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, accompanied by his family, speaks to supporters during an event announcing he will seek the Republican nomination for president, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at Livingston High School in Livingston, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The Bridgegate scandal, a lagging state economy and fights over pension issues have dramatically lowered the governor's approval numbers, and political analysts say that has hurt him nationally.

"The obstacle that governor Christie has to now overcome is that many voters favored him, liked him, but now have rejected him," said Brigid Harrison, a Montclair State University political science professor.

Harrison said while he finds himself in a very difficult position, there's no denying that he can win over some voters.

"Gov. Christie is a masterful retail politician, as voters especially in New Hampshire get to know him, he does have the ability to charm the pants off of voters," she said.

She said that particular skill set works to his advantage.

"It does allow him to distinguish himself from this crowded field of candidates, many of whom don't have the same kind of experience," she said.

According to Harrison, one of Christie's main messages to voters -- that he's honest, direct and blunt -- is an attempt to distinguish himself, but also it's an attempt to explain his Youtube outbursts to voters are uncomfortable with his behavior.

She also said Christie has some very skillful rivals.

"Particularly when we're looking at Gov. Scott Walker, at former Gov. Jeb Bush, these are candidates who have been around the block, they know how to do nasty, negative politics, and Gov. Christie has given them a lot of fodder," Harrison said.

The bottom line, she said, is "there's no denying that he's an enormously skillful politician but he has an enormously challenging road ahead of him, but I've been around watching Gov. Christie way too long to count him out."