January 12, 2024
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Wednesday, January 10, that he is getting out of the 2024 presidential campaign—as his main competition for moderate votes in the New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley, gains on Donald Trump in the state, reports NBC News.
“It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination,” Christie told voters at an evening event. “Which is why I’m suspending my campaign for president of the United States.”
“I want to promise you this,” he continued. “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.”
Christie is not expected to make any endorsement now, said a source familiar with the campaign, who speculated that he may want to wait until after the Iowa caucuses on Monday, January 15, before he makes any announcement to amplify its effect.
A Christie fundraiser said she heard from Christie, himself, that he would be dropping out: “I am very saddened by this. I wanted him to stay in. He did not have discussions with Nikki about this,” the person said.
The decision removes the most high-profile and consistent critic of Trump still in the Republican primary campaign. Christie weathered boos and catcalls at GOP debates when he stuck to his message against the former president.
But Christie’s departure also may boost Haley, who has also selectively criticized Trump and who has been fighting for a similar group of moderate voters in New Hampshire. Haley and Christie have both overperformed among self-described independents in polls ahead of New Hampshire’s January 23 open primary.
Christie had been resisting calls to drop out and make room for Haley to grow her support further in recent days—arguing that she was damaging her candidacy by pandering to different audiences and by refusing to rule out becoming Trump’s running mate.
Christie was caught on a hot mic apparently talking about Haley before his event Wednesday evening, saying: “She’s going to get smoked—you and I both know it. She’s not up to this.” The Christie campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the remark.
It became clear that some anti-Trump Republican primary voters were having trouble sticking with Christie as Haley emerged as the main threat to Trump in New Hampshire.
“My heart wants to vote for Governor Christie, but my brain tells me to vote for Nikki Haley,” New Hampshire Republican Greg Leach, 49, said Tuesday after having attended a Christie town hall. He said his decision is based on current polling numbers. He said he views Haley as being “within close striking distance of Trump.”
“I want to vote for Christie, but I feel like right now my vote would be wasted and, in a sense, a vote for Trump,” Leach said.
Christie focused most of the effort behind his take-on-Trump strategy in New Hampshire, figuring that more conservative Iowa would not be as receptive to his message among the early-voting states. He did not set foot in Iowa during his campaign.
On town hall stages and during debates, Christie repeatedly spoke out about why he believes it would be dangerous for Trump to be president again—and called out other candidates for not doing the same.
Research contact: @NBCNews