Chris Christie says he is withdrawing from the Republican presidential race, just days before the Iowa caucuses

(Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press)

Chris Christie says he is withdrawing from the Republican presidential race, just days before the Iowa caucuses

Election 2024


January 10, 2024

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he is ending his Republican presidential bid just days before the first Iowa caucuses

which he described as

a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump a glide path to the nomination.

My goal has never been to merely be a voice against the hatred, division and selfishness of what our party has become under Donald Trump, Christie said at a town hall in New Hampshire.

“I have always said that if there came a point in this race where I could no longer see a path to achieving that goal, I would drop out,” he said. And it is clear to me tonight that that is not the case. a path for me to win the nomination, and that is why tonight I am suspending my campaign for President of the United States.

It was not clear whether Christie would immediately endorse any of his rivals, but he was heard criticizing former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley during a livestream set up by his campaign ahead of the event. She’s going to smoke, he said. She can’t handle this. He said the governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis called him, terrified that he would support Haley, but the hot mic was turned off before Christie had finished speaking.

The dropout comes as a surprise, as Christie had staked his campaign’s success on the first New Hampshire primary, which takes place in less than two weeks. He had said Tuesday night that he had no plans to drop out of the race, continuing to cast himself as the only candidate willing to take on the former president directly.

I would like to get out of the way of someone who actually stands up to Donald Trump, he said at a town hall in Rochester, N.H., as he argued that none of his rivals had done so.

I’m famous enough. …I have enough titles. …The only reason to do this is to win, he added. So I would happily get out of the way of someone if they actually went against Donald Trump.

But Christie faced a stark reality: While recent polls showed him reaching double digits in New Hampshire, Haley is showing signs of momentum. A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll conducted in the state this week showed Trump’s lead in the single digits, with four in 10 likely Republican primary voters choosing him and about a third now choosing Haley.

Haley’s allies, including the governor of New Hampshire. Chris Sununu and other anti-Trump Republicans had urged Christie to resign, hoping that a large portion of his supporters would flock to Haley, giving her a chance to turn the race into a two-candidate contest with Trump being the overwhelming favorite. in most polls.

The New Hampshire poll, which showed Christie at 12%, found that about two-thirds of his supporters would choose Haley as their second choice.

Christie was the race’s fiercest critic of the former president. He warned voters against nominating a candidate who has been criminally charged four times and who could very well be a convicted felon in November’s general election. And he argued that Trump would lose in the general election to President Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, as he did in 2020.

Although his anti-Trump message attracted significant media attention and led to waves of small-dollar donations that kept him in the race and on the debate stage for much longer than many expected, Christie was plagued by high unfavorable ratings in a party that lingers deeply. loyalty to Trump.

He also remained stuck in the single digits in the national polls.

Still, Christie managed to outlast better-financed candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, in part because she ran a frugal campaign. Instead of flying on a private jet and hiring a litany of expensive consultants, he relied on a close-knit staff of just over a dozen people and had a much lower burn rate than rivals like DeSantis, who worked far less per day spent.

And just as he did when he ran for office in 2016, Christie based his campaign on New Hampshire, believing that what he portrays as a brash style would resonate with the state’s more independently minded voters, including those with no ties with a party and can vote in the Republican primaries.

He also campaigned in South Carolina and hoped to emerge after early state contests as the last candidate to oppose Trump.

Christie had long maintained he had no plans to drop out of the race before the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23 and appeared on track to perform better than in 2016, when he finished sixth with 7% of the vote.

At the town hall Tuesday, he delivered a sharply worded rebuttal to those calling on him to resign to clear the way for Haley, arguing that she wasn’t even trying to defeat Trump.

“I have no interest in being a spoiler for someone who wants to beat Donald Trump,” he said. But if you were willing to be his vice president, if you’d pardon him if you became president, if you’d vote for him even if he’s a convicted felon… I mean, gosh, really?

Christie asked the crowd to imagine what would happen if he dropped out to support Haley, and then she agreed to serve as Trump’s running mate.

What will I look like? What will all the people who support her at my request look like? he asked. You know, I made that mistake once, eight years ago. I made an endorsement decision based on politics eight years ago when I supported Trump. I’m not going to make the same mistake again. Can it not.

In many ways, the campaign felt like a redemption mission for the former governor, who arguably did more than any other Republican primary rival to help Trump win the presidency in 2016.

During that contest, Christie delivered what many consider a fatal blow to Marco Rubio’s candidacy in a debate that took place just as the Republican establishment appeared to be coalescing around the Florida senator as an alternative to Trump. No other candidate ever took his place.

When Christie dropped out, he became the first major Republican figure to endorse Trump in a surprise news conference. He then led Trump’s White House transition operation before being unceremoniously fired immediately after the November election, and served as an adviser, including in preparing Trump for the 2020 debates.

It was during one of their debate prep sessions that Christie believes Trump gave him COVID-19, which landed Christie in the hospital in intensive care.

But it wasn’t until the night of the 2020 election that Christie, who had been friends with Trump and his wife for 20 years, broke with the then-president after Trump falsely claimed victory long before all the votes were counted. Christie later wrote a book in which he was highly critical of the former president.

In addition to his focus on Trump, Christie had argued that abortion restrictions should be left to the states until there is a broader consensus on the issue, and he had argued for continued U.S. support for Ukraine in its efforts to stave off the Russian invasion. He visited both Ukraine and Israel, where he toured a kibbutz that was destroyed in October 2014. He said the US must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.


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