Chris Christie Ends Campaign
The anti-Trump attack dog is out of the race.
Bloomberg (“Chris Christie to Exit 2024 Race Days Before Iowa Republican Caucus“):
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he is ending his long-shot 2024 campaign centered on denying onetime ally Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination.
“It’s clear to me tonight, that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination, which is why I’m suspending my campaign tonight,” Christie said at a town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
Before his event, Christie was caught on a hot mic disparaging other GOP candidates who will be courting his supporters. His statements threatened to undermine any effort to shift his support behind one of the other challengers to Trump’s frontrunner campaign.
Christie criticized former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, saying “she’s going to get smoked” in the primary race and noting the amount of money she had poured into the race. “She’s not up to this,” Christie said.
He added that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called him, sounding “petrified” shortly before the feed was cut.
Christie’s exit still potentially boosts the candidacies of Haley and DeSantis who have emerged as the main alternatives to frontrunner Trump. The pair, scheduled to square off in a debate on CNN later Wednesday evening, have focused their attacks on each other as they duel for the runner-up mantle — or even an upset — in Iowa. A strong showing there could open a lane for one of them to mount a serious challenge to the former president.
Christie faced pressure in recent days to end his bid with his campaign polling in the low single digits nationally. He entered the Republican primary contest as the most stridently anti-Trump candidate in the field.
Haley in a statement called Christie “a friend for many years” and said she would work to win over his supporters.
“Voters have a clear choice in this election: the chaos and drama of the past or a new generation of conservative leadership. I will fight to earn every vote, so together we can build a strong and proud America,” she said.
Christie on Wednesday said defeating Trump was “more important than my personal ambition.”
Both Trump and DeSantis, though, seized on Christie’s hot mic gaffe, noting the former governor’s criticism of Haley.
“I hear Chris Christie is dropping out of the race today — I might even get to like him again! Anyway, he was just caught on a hot mic making a very truthful statement,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
DeSantis said he agreed with the former New Jersey governor’s assessment of Haley.
“I agree with Christie that Nikki Haley is ‘going to get smoked,’” DeSantis wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Notably, this comes just a week after a tendentious interview with Hugh Hewitt, in which the host repeatedly asked why Christie was still in the race and hurting Haley’s chances to beat Trump. While Christie denied that this was the case, the logic was unassailable: Christie had zero shot at the nomination and was indeed siphoning off “normal” Republican votes from Haley, who is doing significantly better in the polls.
Of course, that’s not saying much. Here’s the current RCP aggregate:
Trump is averaging a 51.2% lead over Haley, his nearest challenger. Even if she picked up all of Christie’s 3.3%, it doesn’t matter.
It’s considerably closer—but not close.
Really, all Christie dropping out does—at best—is make Haley a slightly more clear distant second-place finisher.
In 2016, many pundits and activists called on the non-crazies to rally around a single candidate in order to beat Trump. That has essentially happened this time, with only Asa Hutchinson still inexplicably running for the normie vote that Haley is courting.
Indeed, we have the reverse 2016 this time around: Trump is competing against two other MAGA candidates in Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy. He’s nonetheless wiping the floor with the field.