The race for governor next year is in its embryonic stage, but it’s being dragged into the national spotlight in part thanks to the kerfluffle over the lengths at which New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will go toward helping fellow Republican Rob Astorino next year take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

To recap, Cuomo told reporters on a conference call last week that a New York Post report — he was specifically asked about the Post column penned by Fred Dicker — that Christie would go all in helping Astorino next year was not true, according to a phone call he had with Christie earlier that morning.

Christie is the incoming head of the Republican Governors Association, a political organization whose aim is to, well, elect more Republican governors.

It was an unusual move, considering that A) Cuomo has insisted he won’t talk “politics” before the election season begins in earnest and B) The details of phone calls between two A-listers is rarely divulged.

Cuomo’s insistence that Christie told him he won’t help Astorino resulted in today’s Dicker column that found some national Republicans — already skeptical of a northeastern GOPer’s conservative street cred — are upset he’s not backing a candidate to take out or at least put a scare in the New York governor.

More troubling for Christie, the Dicker column today got one of those all-important Drudge links.

This morning Republican Chairman Ed Cox told Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show that the Cuomo-Christie-Astorino saga is a sign the Democratic governor is scared of the Westchester County executive.

Cox did some insisting of his own in the interview, saying that while he wasn’t privy to the extent of the hour-long meeting Christie and his wife had with Astorino and his wife, the potential candidate for governor emerged feeling good about a potential run against Cuomo.

“It was very positive and enthusiastic,” Cox said.

He added, “I think this shows that Andrew Cuomo is scared of Rob Astorino.”

Astorino won re-election in Democratic heavy Westchester County last month, and establishment Republicans in New York have in recent weeks coalesced around his potential candidacy for governor.