On Wednesday, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suspended his campaign.
This is a serious game changer in the early voting states where Christie had a presence, especially in New Hampshire.
- Christie suspends campaign
- Christie polling in early voting states
Because Chris Christie was polling fairly well in New Hampshire, most expected him to hang out in this race through Iowa, but the former New Jersey governor decided to suspend his campaign now. He stated:
“I’ve always said that if there came a point in time in this race where I couldn’t see a path to accomplishing that goal that I would get out, and 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 for president of the United States.
“It’s the right thing for me to do. Because, I want to promise you this — I am going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be president of the United States again.”
Christie also got caught on a hot mic trashing Nikki Haley and was about to describe a phone call with Governor Ron DeSantis when the mic got cut…
Chris Christie is caught on a hot mic ahead of his expected announcement that he's dropping out of the presidential race:
He says Nikki Haley is "gonna get smoked" and a "petrified" Ron DeSantis called him. pic.twitter.com/fGOFEtVDHn
— The Recount (@therecount) January 10, 2024
Nationally, Christie was barely registering, but in the early voting states, Christie was polling decently, especially in New Hampshire, where he was in third place behind Nikki Haley. He was polling in fourth place in Iowa, but all those voters are now going to have to decide on a different candidate.
Christie stated that he would not be endorsing anyone in the primary race, at least not yet, but his comments about Haley have to help Ron DeSantis in the early voting, which could completely change the dynamic of this race.
Christie dropping out before New Hampshire is a really big deal, especially for Nikki Haley, who is now only trailing Trump by 11.8% in the state. There are still about 17% of undecided voters, and I really don’t think they will go to Trump. If Haley lands the majority of those voters, she could win the state outright. And if they wind up going for DeSantis, he could be right there with Haley.
Moving to Iowa, Haley and DeSantis are basically even at this point, with Trump holding about a 35% lead against them, but there are still about 7% of voters that are undecided in the state with Christie dropping out. My personal feeling on the state is that DeSantis is going to do far better than polling is showing at this point because of all the time he has spent there.
If DeSantis manages to pick up Christie’s votes, he would give Trump a run for his money, which would ultimately turn this race on its ear. If DeSantis or Haley are even remotely close to Trump after Iowa and New Hampshire, you suddenly have a Trump campaign that has underperformed and will be shaky heading into Nevada and South Carolina.
The good news for DeSantis is that Iowa is first, which is where he had put all his eggs in the basket. If he can perform decently in the state, he will have a week in New Hampshire to try to change voters’ minds. If, somehow, DeSantis is still alive at that point, he will have two weeks to hit the ground in Nevada to try to make a dent in Trump’s lead. South Carolina is up after that, and if Haley is still in this race, DeSantis knows he will get crushed there, so he would be far better off spending his time and money in Michigan, Idaho, Missouri, and North Dakota to try to keep himself alive into Super Tuesday.
The key to all of this for DeSantis is Iowa, as he must have a strong performance to keep his campaign alive. If not, This will likely be a heads-up race between Trump and Haley by February.