Christie Taps Out
State of the Union: Chris Christie has suspended his weak presidential campaign—what does that mean for those still in the race?
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Wednesday evening that he is dropping out of the 2024 GOP presidential race. “It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination,” Christie told a group of supporters, “which is why I’m suspending my campaign tonight for president of the United States.”
He continued, “I want to promise you this—I’m going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be president of the United States again. And that’s more important than my own personal ambition.” Unfortunately for him, this was really the only reason for his lackluster presidential campaign in the first place—it is no wonder his message did not resonate with many voters, as Donald Trump has been leagues ahead of the presidential hopeful in every poll for the past several months.
The timing of this campaign suspension is curious, as it came just before the first GOP debate of 2024 and just days before the Iowa Caucus on Monday. Additionally, Nikki Haley, thought to be Christie’s primary competitor for more moderate votes in the New Hampshire primary on January 23rd, is currently gaining on former President Donald Trump in the Granite State. Does Christie’s sudden departure have a chance of boosting Haley in New Hampshire?
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Christie himself may not think so. The end of his campaign was clouded by a hot mic debacle, where he was caught speaking about Haley’s dismal prospects: “She’s going to get smoked—you and I both know it. She’s not up to this.” Donald Trump seemed to agree, taking to Truth Social to say, “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” about Haley.
However, Haley has indeed emerged as the main threat to Trump in New Hampshire. As of this writing, she is polling at 29.9 percent in the state, with Trump at 42.4 percent. With Christie out of the race, and his potential 11.6 percent of the vote having to trickle elsewhere, a narrow Haley win might not be completely out of the question because New Hampshire is an open primary state and Democrats refuse to have a primary: Unaffiliated voters, including many liberals, may choose to vote for Haley simply to try and prevent Trump from winning. This wouldn't be new for New Hampshire. It is an unpredictable primary state known for previous upsets—notably for GOP candidate Pat Buchanan, who claimed victory over Bob Dole in the 1996 primary.
Essentially, New Hampshire has become a two-person race between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump. However, this is Trump’s ball to fumble—he won the primary in 2016 and is fully capable of winning it again. Chris Christie may just have to live with the fact that he cannot prevent Donald Trump from becoming president again—even while giving one of Trump’s strongest competitors free votes in New Hampshire.