Gov. Chris Christie has nominated his chief of staff to be New Jersey's next attorney general.

Kevin O'Dowd was chief of the securities and health care fraud unit when Christie was the U.S. attorney in New Jersey. After he became governor, Christie named O'Dowd his deputy chief counsel, and he's been the governor's chief of staff for two years.

"I've known Kevin both as a friend and as a professional over the last decade, and I'm really grateful that he's willing to continue his government service," Christie said Monday.

O'Dowd said he's looking forward to being confirmed by the state Senate.

"It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be given an opportunity to lead the Department of Law and Public Safety," he said.

Senate President Steve Sweeney praised O'Dowd, calling him the ultimate professional.

John Hoffman has been New Jersey's acting attorney general since June when Jeff Chiesa left the job to temporarily replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.