Christie made clear that his latest presidential bid would be different. On the trail, he did not rule out voting for a third-party candidate in the general election, though he has said he wouldn’t launch an outside bid of his own, calling it a “fool’s errand.”
CNN — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Wednesday that he is ending his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, marking the exit of the most outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary.
“It is 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 for President of the United States,” he said at a town hall in Windham, New Hampshire, just 10 days before the first-in-the-nation primary. He called it the “right thing for me to do” and promised that he would never “enable Donald Trump to become, to ever be president of the United States again.”
Christie’s decision comes on the heels of a new batch of disappointing poll numbers, especially in New Hampshire, where he hoped a less conservative electorate would coalesce around his sharp opposition to Trump, whom he described as “devoid of character.”
His departure could be a boon to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has pulled to within single digits of Trump in the Granite State, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire. The survey found that 65% of Christie supporters – 12% of the total – listed Haley as their second choice. She trailed Trump 39% to 32% among likely primary voters.
Whether Christie himself will do the same and encourage his backers to follow suit is an open question. He has no immediate plans to endorse another candidate, according to a Republican source. Before his exit, he slammed Haley repeatedly and suggested she was running to be Trump’s vice president with an eye on a promotion in 2028.
Despite ending his presidential campaign, his name will remain on the ballot in New Hampshire, where the primary will take place on January 23.
In his remarks Wednesday, Christie took several thinly veiled shots at the other Trump rivals.
“Anyone who is unwilling to say (Trump) is unfit to be president of the United States,” Christie said, “is unfit themselves to be president of the United States.”
Prior to taking the stage at the event, Christie was caught talking about his opponents on a hot mic in audio obtained by The Recount. The audio captured only part of Christie’s comments before being cut off.
“You know, and she’s gonna get smoked and you and I both know it. She’s not up to this,” Christie said in an apparent reference to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Christie also can be heard on the audio saying that DeSantis called him.
“DeSantis called me, petrified that I would,” Christie says before the audio appeared to cut out.
The Christie campaign declined to comment. CNN has reached out to the DeSantis and Haley campaigns for comment.
In his remarks Wednesday, Christie took several thinly veiled shots at the other Trump rivals.Pressed by a voter on Tuesday about the urgency of anti-Trump Republicans to unite around a single opponent, Christie again questioned Haley’s intentions – and expressed anxiety over how endorsing her might reflect on him.
“Let’s say I dropped out of the race right now and I supported Nikki Haley. And then three months from now, four months from now, when you’re ready to go to the convention, she comes out as his vice president. What will I look like? What will all the people who supported her at my behest look like?” he said.
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