Who is supporting this guy anyways?
Following his compelling performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during a GOP presidential primary debate, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has found renewed motivation to continue his candidacy. Despite slim chances of securing the nomination, Christie aggressively criticized former President Trump and took the spotlight as the most vocal participant, according to CNN’s tally.
While acknowledging Christie’s strong showing, Republicans are aware that his prolonged presence in the race may inadvertently favor Trump by dividing the non-Trump vote. Republican strategist Justin Sayfie emphasized the correlation between Christie’s performance and Trump’s chances, stating that the longer Christie stays, the more advantageous it is for Trump to secure the nomination.
Despite being a former ally of Trump, their relationship soured after the 2020 election challenges and the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. Christie positioned himself as a chief opponent to Trump in the 2024 race, consistently criticizing him during the campaign.
Despite earlier polls showing Christie in second place in New Hampshire, recent standings place him third at best in the state and at the bottom nationally. However, Christie seems determined to remain in the race, capitalizing on memorable moments from the recent debate to fuel his campaign.
One notable exchange occurred when Christie rebuked Vivek Ramaswamy for interrupting candidates on stage and personally attacking former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. He also confronted Governor DeSantis, accusing him of evading a question about Trump’s fitness for office.
Sayfie argued that Trump benefits from a crowded field, which divides the non-Trump vote, making it easier for Trump to secure early states. The strategist suggested that Christie’s decision to stay in the race depends on his goals – whether he aims to support Trump’s nomination or hinder it.
While Trump maintains a substantial lead in national polls, his margin in Iowa and New Hampshire is narrower, fostering hope for an alternative candidate. However, strategists emphasize the importance of a unified opposition to Trump rather than a fragmented field. Some Republicans have even called for Christie to exit the race.
Qualifying for upcoming debates poses a challenge for Christie, but he remains steadfast, dismissing calls to suspend his campaign by citing the unreliability of polls and pointing to Trump’s legal challenges. Strategists suggest that Christie’s continued candidacy may hurt Nikki Haley’s prospects, especially in New Hampshire.
As the race unfolds, political observers anticipate a clearer picture of the candidates’ viability after the Iowa caucuses on January 15. Christie’s future actions, including potential endorsements, may play a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of the GOP primary.