Atlantic City mayor Lorenzo Langford escalated tensions with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after the mayor said Tuesday he would welcome the chance “to confront the governor mano y mano” over how he handled the city’s evacuation during Hurricane Sandy.

A day earlier, Christie had criticized Langford as a “rogue mayor” for supposedly encouraging residents to ride out the storm in designated shelters rather than leave the area entirely.

He told TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Tuesday that Atlantic City residents received mixed messages from his executive order requiring everyone to evacuate and Langford’s encouragement to take cover instead.

“I feel badly for the folks in Atlantic City who listened to him and sheltered in Atlantic City, and I guess my anger has turned to sympathy for those folks, and we’re in the midst now of trying to go in and save them,” Christie said.

Langford strongly denied the characterization of what happened, saying the governor was “either misinformed and ill-advised, or simply just deciding to prevaricate.”

“I’m telling you that is absolutely false and the governor needs to be challenged,” he said. “Where did he get that information? He is dead wrong.”

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