Chris Christie dramatically announced Wednesday that he was dropping out of the 2024 Republican presidential race, issuing a furious denunciation of Donald Trump and telling supporters he was committed to keeping his former ally out of the White House.
‘It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path or me to win the nomination, which is why I’m suspending my campaign tonight for president of the United States,’ Christie told supporters in Windham, New Hampshire.
It is a stunning development that could be a major boost for Nikki Haley as many of Christie’s voters would be expected to now back her.
But in extended remarks, Christie didn’t give anything close to an endorsement of one of Trump’s remaining challengers. Instead, he ripped unnamed contenders who lacked the ‘courage’ to go directly at the frontrunner.
Christie based his campaign on being the most vocal and aggressive opponent of the runaway frontrunner, former president Donald Trump.
But he has been languishing in polls and came under increasing pressure to withdraw and give Haley, who has been gaining momentum, a better opportunity to catch Trump.
Chris Christie spoke to supporters at a town hall in Windham, New Hampshire, after it was reported he was dropping out of the GOP primary
Chris Christie is dramatically dropping out of the 2024 Republican presidential race, according to multiple reports
The former New Jersey governor will end his campaign before Iowa becomes the first state to vote on Monday, according to Bloomberg and journalist Mark Halperin. He is pictured with wife Mary campaigning in New Hampshire
An average of polls had Christie in fifth place in Iowa on 3 percent support.
He had staked nearly his entire campaign on success in New Hampshire, the second state to vote on January 23. According to polls he was in third place there on 12 per cent.
His shock decision to pull out came just a day after he had rejected the idea that ending his presidential bid would help Haley defeat Trump.
Speaking at a in a barbecue restaurant in New Hampshire on Tuesday he said: ‘I would be happy to get out of the way for someone who is actually running against Donald Trump. Why do we think she (Haley) would beat him? She’s not trying to beat him.’
He noted her support for pardoning Trump if any of his criminal trials end in conviction, and her refusal to rule out becoming Trump’s running mate if asked.
‘Let’s say I dropped out of the race right now and I supported Nikki Haley,’ Christie said on Tuesday.
‘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?’
It is a stunning development that could be a major boost for Nikki Haley as many of Christie’s voters would be expected to now back her
Christie’s withdrawal could benefit Nikki Haley
Christie had been the candidate most critical of Trump
Christie on the debate stage with his rivals
Christie made a recent appearance on The View
At his a town hall event in New Hampshire on Tuesday one of Christie’s voters suggested he should consider dropping out.
Greg Leach, 49, of Dover, told Christie that he wants his vote to count and asked him about the need to unify around one anti-Trump candidate.
‘I really want to vote for Christie but strategically, at this point I feel like Nikki Haley is the way to go,’ he said..
Leach said he’s interested in seeing what happens in Iowa but wondered if Christie should drop out sooner rather than later.
‘I don’t want it to be too late and have Trump end up winning because people waited too long,’ he said.
Christie had maintained that he would remain in the race as long as he saw a path to the nomination.
He had also said he would not make an endorsement based on politics like he did when he backed Trump eight years ago.
‘I’m not going to make the same mistake again,’ he said. ‘Can’t do it.’
On Tuesday a spokesperson for Haley’s political action committee said: ‘It’s time for voters to tell Christie what we all know, which is that his campaign isn’t stopping anyone and frankly, it’s helping Trump, whom he proudly endorsed in 2016 and supposedly opposes in 2024.’
But the math in recent polls was sending a signal about a way for Christie to make an impact in his crusade to stop Trump after lending his support to his former rival in 2016.
The latest CNN / University of New Hampshire poll had Trump leading the field with 39 per cent, with Hailing trailing by just 7 points at 32 per cent.
Christie was at 12 point. But if most of his supporters went to Haley, it could provide a way for her to find a way to surpass Trump in the first-in-the-nation primary.
Christie’s planned announcement came after a pro-Trump super PAC started hammering Haley with a new ad on immigration – in a move that responded to her polling rise.